The Secrets of the Dwarves

Location The Arx
Suggested Level 19
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The Secrets of the Dwarves / Deathfog Rising is a Quest in Divinity: Original Sin II. It appears that the Voidwoken attacked a dwarven wedding for some reason. Could this be connected to the cache of deathfog known to be in Arx? What's truly happening?



Important NPCs

  • Isbeil
  • Queen Justinia 



The Secrets of the Dwarves Objectives

  1. Investigate the wedding scene.
  2. Enter the sewers and search for Queen Justinia.
  3. Kill Isbeil.
  4. Speak to Queen Justinia and decide her fate.



The Secrets of the Dwarves Walkthrough

There are multiple ways to acquire this quest, most predominantly if you did the quest with Lohar back in Act II, finding out that there is a cache of Deathfog barrels headed to Arx. Ultimately though, you'll want to get into the wedding site in Arx, so head over there. Note that this quest is closely related to the "Blood Dowry" quest and is recommended to be done in conjunction with it, but they are not the same, though both take place in the same area.

Unfortunately, you won't be allowed into the wedding area. There are also multiple ways to get into the wedding site without triggering combat, with the easiest way simply passing a speech check with the guard at the door to let you in. You can also pass a speech check with a drunken dwarven woman outside the building (at around co-ordinates X:322, Y:299) to get her invitation so the guard will let you in, or you can sneak through the backyard of the loremaster house, and into the wedding area as shown in the picture below:

Alternatively, you can also get in there through the sewers, as shown in the picture below, but be very careful of the fog-swollen spiders, since when they are killed their corpse will exude a small deathfog, killing all living beings in it. This is arguably the most tedious option.

Ultimately, simply enter the wedding site, and you'll find many dead bodies. You can interact with the statue at this point and pass a wits speech check to find out that there is death fog underground. You can cast Spirit Vision here and see the spirits of the guests, but they will yield no real information and are just source food. You can speak to the dwarves here for more information, but this is optional.

Interact with the huge wedding cake in the center, and it will cause an explosion, and some wind-up toys will appear and attack. After you killed them, a guard will hurry in due to the commotion and you can take this opportunity to ask him where the cake came from. He will tell you that a man known as the Doctor sent in the cake. This Doctor is the very same one afflicting Lohse in her personal quest.

Now you'll have to enter the sewer, then head to Queen Justinia's court. The location of the sewer entrance is shown in the picture below.

As you traverse the sewers, be very careful of the various traps lurking about. In the picture below, you can either lockpick the suspicious hole in the wall, or use the sewer key found near the web area in the sewers. Head inside and down the stairs.

You will come to Queen Justinia's court. Here, although initially her advisor Isbeil will praise your past accomplishments, she will eventually reveal herself to be an enemy, and you'll realize that the Queen has been manipulated by her advisor all along. Regardless of the options you pick or whether you pass the various speech check options, the outcome will be the same: Isbeil will cast a powerful spell, stunning everyone, and you'll wake up some time later in her laboratory.

In her lab, she will rouse you from your coma and reveal her true undead self, before subjecting you to a series of tortures (though interestingly, if you are undead, the tortures heal you and wouldn't kill you anyway and thus don't make much sense). After a while though, before the final deathfog experiment can happen, you will finally be able to break free of Isbeil's spell, and combat will ensue. Destroy her and her Black Ring followers. A well placed thunderstorm here will melt all your enemies and stun them constantly, giving you a huge advantage. In any case, each Black Ring follower is worth 107,800XP each (there are 4), while Isbeil herself is worth 149,850XP. Killing her will immediately update the quest, giving you yet another 134,750XP. The resulting grand total for killing them all is thus a whopping 715,800XP.

After the battle is done, cast Spirit Vision and you can talk to Isbeil's spirit and learn the truth behind her fury and motivations for unleashing deathfog upon the magisters and paladins. There is a doomsday device near her, which you can use to unleash deathfog upon Arx. The results are that, obviously, everyone will die. Arx will become a complete ghost town if you do this, and render many quests uncompletable, if you have not already done them. You can still walk through some areas though, as the roads are not filled with deathfog. This walkthrough will continue on, assuming you did not choose to unleash the deathfog upon Arx.

Note: as of patch v3.0.158.595, Destroying Arx by releasing Deathfog will now make the player fail the Path of Blood

Assuming you didn't release the deathfog, head through the illusionary door in the picture below to find Queen Justinia. There is also another illusionary door at the other side (there are 2 in total), but be careful! This other illusionary door contains a sinister trap. Once you head in through this door, you'll see a lot of skeletons, hinting that something sinister is here. You will see a wooden door up ahead, but it is actually a trap that will release deathfog and wipe out your entire party! For obvious reasons, do not attempt to open the wooden door, and stick to this illusionary door in the picture below.

Once you enter through the door, you'll hear a loud crash, and Queen Justinia will come crashing in, demanding to know where Isbeil is. Simply tell her Isbeil is dead, and you can decide her fate. If you decide to kill her, she will attack you. She is worth 149,850XP, and the quest is complete when she dies. If you choose not to kill her, she will leave and you will earn a choice of Legendary-quality loot as a reward. You will not earn any XP though, but the quest is complete all the same.

Don't forget to explore the area, loot Isbeil's research notes, and read it for "The Missing Prisoners" quest.




Tips & Tricks

  • You can use the "Tornado" skill to clear death fogs.
  • If you want to spare Queen justinia, make sure to remove any deathfog before walking through the illusionary door and "spawning" her. The queen may walk into the fog and die. This rarely happens, though.
  • Justinia could be upstairs in the Kemm mansion after the fight with Isbeil.





  • A total of 715,800XP for killing the 4 Black Ring members and Isbeil.
  • 149,850XP for killing Queen Justinia OR a choice of Legendary-quality loot for letting her live.

    • Anonymous

      25 Feb 2020 21:59  

      I had this quest break on me, leaving all my people in the pit stunned. I may have sat there an awkwardly long time waiting for the game to do something before I noticed it was broken.

      • Anonymous

        16 Jan 2020 08:05  

        for some reason the quest won't update and complete itself for me , at the very end after justinia bashes through the door and i can choose to kill her or let her go. I chose to call her a traitor and she tries to justify her actions and attacks me and then i kill her, the quest stays open. it says deathfog rising : "isbeil is dead but the mad queen is still at large" but then under it, is dwarven politics (closed) : "queen justinia is dead" so the subquest closed, but the main quest doesn't seem to recognize that I killed her and it stays open

        • Anonymous

          03 Jan 2020 09:12  

          I have noticed that.... oh... every one of these bloody things are missing a key point in them, such as the damned door with the arrows, pressure plates, and poison darts that has the valve on the otherside of a locked door you cannot pick that's before the spot they show up there or talk about....

          • Anonymous

            06 Nov 2019 05:01  

            Easy way to cheese the fight is to send 1 companion in and run the conversation till your companion is in the trap. Send some up to sneak the upper right hand corner of the room then use teleportation pyramid. Once you get close enough your trapped companion should stand up and start combat by themself, this way only 1 character is in the pitt and you can get 3+ free attacks. Also line them up and use laser tag, then curse the fire.

            • Anonymous

              18 Oct 2019 03:43  

              Definitive Edition, if I opt to kill Justinia I get the XP, but if I opt to let her live I get no XP and no reward, legendary or otherwise. It might be related to dialogue choices, or to talking to the spirit of Isabeli before talking to Justinia - I reloaded a save, talked to Isabeli before Justinia, saved Justinia again, and got the reward.

              • Anonymous

                28 Jul 2019 22:25  

                The door just past the illusory door has an unpickable lock. Where is the key? I've searched all the bodies. They are empty, although Isbeil's body does not register as empty. In other words, even though it does not have the word (empty) after it, it still has nothing in her inventory. Justinia's body is empty. I searched the bedroom. I've even searched most of the barrels, although hopefully devs would be more logical than that.

                • Anonymous

                  27 May 2019 00:41  

                  I think I may have a bug. There's a chest in the bedroom in the Court with Justinia and Isbeil that I can't find the key for. Isbeil's body doesn't say empty after i looted it, and when i go to loot it, there's nothing there. I'm just guessing the key to the chest (which can't be lock-picked) is on her body. I'm not sure what happened or if i did something wrong.

                  • Anonymous

                    26 May 2019 08:01  

                    Why is the isbel fight so cheap? half my party gets obliterated turn 1 because they go low in the turn order and cant get out of the gallons of cursed poison before they turn it into a fire pit

                    • Anonymous

                      12 Apr 2019 19:48  

                      The end of this quest is very important/dangerous if you are sworn to the covenant. After killing Isbeil and destroying/rerouting the deathfog, the sworn will be indefinately cursed (probably until the Swornbreaker is used), which CAN NOT be healed by blessing. Teleporting away will be the same, so there is no way to avoid it if proceeding normally. The only way is to kill Isbeil and Justinia before being trapped (they can not be fought seperately anymore) and teleporting the sworn to another map. A different party member then has to deal with the deathfog. Returning to the map afterwards with sworn is safe.

                      • Anonymous

                        11 Apr 2019 03:47  

                        Make sure to CLEAR ALL deathfog near the lab entrance. In my playthrough Justinia did not spawn after I entered the lab. By the time I figured out what happened I was too far ahead and Justinia spawns in Kemm's mansion. Talking to her there gives 0 exp and no loot whatsoever.

                        • Anonymous

                          08 Mar 2019 09:05  

                          When I try and climb up the ladder after pulling the lulabaele wine bottle in the wine cellar my pcs just go up and down the ladder, they don't get on top of the wall to go into the sewer. Any ideas?

                          • Anonymous

                            07 Mar 2019 05:31  

                            XP is way down, and it's all BS anyway. Only one character gets hit by Isbeil's stun yet we're all shocked, once again at a serious disadvantage because of height? Weak, at least they line up nicely for Epidemic of Fire and Fire Slug. It's getting really tiresome to see Charm not do any real switch to most enemies. they won't attack you but they won't help you either. Extremely cheap.

                            • Anonymous

                              20 Jan 2019 00:21  

                              I cannot fathom why, but both Ifan and Beast want to gas the city with deathfog. Ifan's questline entirely revolves around how much he regrets being manipulated into using deathfog. Beast's entire motivation up until this point has been to stop Justinia from using deathfog on Arx. In fact, one room to the left of the machine Beast will yell at Justinia about protecting innocent lives from deathfog. Yet inexplicably, both want to use the deathfog on Arx. Why does their characterization do a complete 180 for one line of dialogue?

                              • Anonymous

                                19 Dec 2018 01:07  

                                In the final secret room inside the room with the source puddles there's loot stash behind banner left of the altar

                                • Anonymous

                                  12 Dec 2018 18:14  

                                  Ifan is my companion and I completed all of his story before arx. He absolutely hates deathfog. When talking to Justinia after the Isbeil fight he even says to kill her for wanting to use it. I interacted with the death machine and when all my companions remark on what to do with it, Ifan says along the lines of "Arx has done nothing good for us, release the death fog on them." WHAT???

                                  • Anonymous

                                    04 Dec 2018 20:57  

                                    I did not do this quest until after I'd talked to Micheil Ros, and he told me where the Queen was and gave me access to his kitchen hatch. I spared the Queen per his wishes, and she rewarded me with a choice of Legendary. I then destroyed the machine, letting it flood the room (it does not flood Isbeil's Lab or the room where you initially meet Justinia & Isbeil, so these are safe places to stay until it's done spreading and you can clear the fog). If you then return to Micheil Ros and tell him that the fog is taken care of and Justinia is hanging out at Kemm's place, he'll reward you again (this isn't in the log and doesn't give xp, but does give another choice of level 19 legendaries).

                                    • Anonymous

                                      04 Dec 2018 18:49  

                                      Note that if you release the Deathfog into the room, it will spill out from the machine, working its way towards the left and right and into the pit. Since both doorways are illusory, they do not stop the fog. I am uncertain if the "regular" doors do. The other point of note is that I split my party and had Fane break the machine, which is fine, however the fog has a moving spawn point at its edges (and possibly at other set locations) which means that using tornado or whatnot to remove the deathfog is only temporary while it is still leaking into the room. Has anyone waited until the sewer was full to return and clear the fog? Does the machine leak indefinitely?

                                      • Anonymous

                                        04 Dec 2018 17:48  

                                        In DE I just went through that second illusory door, and opened the wooden door, and there was poison but no Deathfog in the trap. My entire party was in there with me and we all walked right back out. Perhaps this was changed?

                                        • Anonymous

                                          16 Nov 2018 06:28  

                                          Dark tip: After collecting your loot from Justinia's lair, don't forget you can also pick up the heavy deathfog barrels and "send them to lady vengeance" for later recovery and use.

                                          • Anonymous

                                            03 Nov 2018 01:08  

                                            " The queen may walk into the fog and die. This rarely happens, though." Yeah, so rarely that it happened to me on first try. Just move the box of tools and all should end well.

                                            • Anonymous

                                              08 Oct 2018 10:49  

                                              IF EVERYONE ATTACKS YOU: I tested a lot and it seems to be a bug in the room next to the one you first encounter Isbel and Justinia in. All items there are for some reason flagged red (have to steal). If you sneak in the area you can take almost every loot but for some reason the sneaking breaks close to one wall - the one were the big chest is. This causes you to be flagged as a thief and thats why everyone is attacking you.

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