Innocence Lost

Starting the Quest

Important note: After completing this quest, The Dark Brotherhood will take notice of your character, allowing you to join them later. However, before starting this quest, make sure you have finished the previous one described in the guide (Delayed Burial), as it won’t be possible after joining the Brotherhood.

There are many ways to learn about this quest. One of the easiest methods is to go to any tavern in the game world and ask the innkeeper for interesting rumors (as shown above). With a bit of luck, you’ll hear about Aventus Aretino, a boy who lives in Windhelm and wants to contact the Dark Brotherhood to sentence someone to death.

Another easy method is to go to Windhelm and talk to any Windhelm Guard, who may offer a similar rumor (as shown above). Alternatively, you can travel to Riften and talk to Maul about the Dark Brotherhood (by bribing or using speech) or talk to any child in the Honorall Orphanage.

Regardless of how you learn about it, a new miscellaneous quest will appear in your journal: Talk to Aventus Aretino.

Now, travel to Windhelm and locate the Aretino Residence in the eastern part of the city (as shown above).

You’ll need to take action at night, as the Aretino Residence is closed during the day. Wait until the people standing near the residence (Grimvar and Odesa Sadri) walk away, then proceed with your plan (as shown above). The main door has a weak lock, so you should be able to open it even if your character is not a thief (just make sure to have at least one lockpick in your inventory).

Enter the residence and go up the stairs to find Aventus Aretino, who is performing The Black Sacrament. It doesn’t matter whether you talk to him or remain silent during the conversation, as you’ll learn the same thing either way. Aventus wants Grelod the Kind, the matron of the Honorall Orphanage in Riften, dead because she is abusing the children there.

This unlocks the Dark Brotherhood quest: Innocence Lost.

New Primary Objective: Kill Grelod the Kind

Leave the Aretino Residence and travel to Riften. Once there, locate the Honorall Orphanage in the southwestern part of the city (as shown above). Since there are children inside during the day, it’s best to enter the building at night.

If it’s your first visit to the orphanage, you’ll need to wait until Grelod the Kind gives a short speech to the children in the main chamber. Otherwise, you can take action immediately. The woman should go to her chamber in the southern part of the building (as shown above).

The article explains how to kill Grelod, the headmistress of an orphanage, in Skyrim. It is recommended to keep the victims unaware until the last moment, and to approach sleeping Grelod for the first killing. However, even if you kill her while crouching from behind, she will scream and wake up everyone in the orphanage. If caught, you will have to choose between paying a fine, going to jail, or fighting the guards. After killing Grelod, the new primary objective is to inform Aventus Aretino and receive the Aretino Family Heirloom as a reward. More information about joining the Dark Brotherhood can be found in the quest With Friends Like These.


1. What does the phrase “Innocence Lost” mean?

The phrase “Innocence Lost” refers to the moment when a person loses their naivety, purity, or trust in the world around them. It can be a specific event or a gradual realization, but it marks a significant shift in a person’s perception of the world. Often associated with childhood, innocence lost can also be experienced in adulthood when someone realizes the harsh realities of life.

2. What are some common examples of innocence lost?

Common examples of innocence lost include the realization that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy aren’t real, the realization that death is permanent and inevitable, and the realization that some people can’t be trusted. Other examples include experiencing trauma, witnessing violence, or learning about societal injustices such as racism, sexism, or poverty.

3. How does losing one’s innocence affect a person?

Losing one’s innocence can have a significant impact on a person’s worldview and mental health. It may lead to feelings of disillusionment, cynicism, or anxiety. Some people may become more guarded and less trusting of others, while others may become more empathetic and compassionate towards those who have also experienced loss or trauma. Losing one’s innocence can also be a catalyst for personal growth and self-discovery as individuals navigate their new understanding of the world.

4. Can innocence be regained after it has been lost?

While innocence cannot be fully regained after it has been lost, it is possible for individuals to find a new sense of hope and meaning in life. Through therapy, self-care, or spiritual practices, individuals can learn to cope with their experiences and find ways to move forward. It is also possible for individuals to find new sources of joy and wonder in life, even after experiencing loss or trauma. While the loss of innocence can be a painful and difficult experience, it can also lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of the world around us.

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