Aus teifem Traum bin ich erwacht:
Das Welt ist tief,
Und teiefer als der Tag gedacht."
"I've slept my sleep -
From deepest dream I've woke and plead:
The world is deep,
And deeper than the day could read."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
One of the things I love about The Secret World is learning about the game world through exploration. The game doesn't infodump very often, but rather you learn about the world, events and characters through newspapers, NPC background conversations, overheard radio chatter, posters and books through the course of playing. Seemingly insignificant things can give clues as to what is really going on.
Sometimes you'll see or hear something that makes you think. Something that suggests a deeper mystery (and with this game it often turns out to be one). I was playing through The Pick Up last week (one of the new quests added in the Issue 1 update), and it totally transformed what I thought about one of the incidental NPCs I'd previously encountered. Minor spoilers ahead if you haven't yet done The Pick Up.
|Cassandra King and Beaumont - note the ring|
Cassandra "Cassie" King is first encountered as part of the main storyline in Kingsmouth. I didn't really spare her a second thought, other than being amused by her character. She seems like a minor member of The Morninglight cult, assisting Beaumont to recruit young, naive locals by using her "assets". She's obviously sexually aggressive and has her own views on how things should be done, but she seems like a minor player.
I also came across photographs of her whilst examining a camera belonging to Danny Dufresne. She'd obviously posed for him, perhaps trying to lure him into the Morninglight cult. Still, nothing particularly unusual that would make you sit up and take notice.
|Danny's photographs - note the T-shirt|
Towards the end of the quest however it becomes apparent that there is much more to Cassie than is first apparent.
"Ok, so here's the deal. I'm gonna to level with you. It's better for everyone if this package doesn't end up with those fucking Morninglight hippies."
"We're a different breed you and I. We're better than they are. So let me take this with me and go through that door, and I'll owe you a favour. A big one."
Cassie then seems to cast a spell on you, imprisoning you behind mystic bars and putting a debuff called Black Kiss on you that reads "you have been kissed by the Wicked Witch of the South".
|Che and Cassie -Jesus and Mary|
"We'll see each other again, when the both of us have grown a bit. I'd like that very much."
"Take care okay? When I'm ready for you, you'll know where to find me. I promise."
Cassie then steals the item you've been sent to retrieve and runs off.
So obviously, Cassandra King is more than she first appears. She has power, and her own motives, and was apparently just pretending to be working for the Morninglight. I just got to thinking, who the hell is she?
A quick google search soon revealed that I'm not the only one looking for answers. There's a whole big discussion on the official Lore forums about who she is, and some really interesting theories.
Here's the list of theories that have been proposed so far...
- She's a student of Beaumont's. Well she certainly has power, but she steals from Beaumont and judging by the first time we come across her B think she's just a dumb slut.
- She's Mary Magdelene. Che calls her Mary Magdelene and she in turn calls him Jesus. This doesn't seem right though, there is none of the subtlety of the rest of the game, and Mary doesn't fit with Cassie's character (southern temptress) at all.
- She's the Wicked Witch of the South. Only vaguely referenced in L. Frank Baum's book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this seems unlikely. I can't see Funcom using Oz as a reference for in-game characters really, it doesn't fit with the milieu. I think that's just a pop-culture reference.
- She's Morgan le Fay. There is some Arthurian myth in the game, so it's possible, but there is no firm link. However John Galahad in London refers to Morgan having red hair.
- She's the Cassandra of myth and legend, wife of King Agamemnon. It's possible, but she doesn't have Cassandra's red hair or (as far as I'm aware) the gift of prophecy, which is the mythical Cassandra's main characteristic. Unless her comments about meeting again could be construed as prophetic (seems tenuous).
- She's with the Phoenicians. Possible, but she doesn't seem to recognise them when you encounter them in the tunnels. Reference is made in the Phoenician lore to a woman whose "beauty will inspire myths. Her eyes are a prelude to the fall of empires. Her parted lips promise secrets and the tidal pull that causes men to steer their ships onto jagged rocks. Night to night, she visited each brother, promises moaned. She taught them jealousy, distrust, and covetous thoughts". The Whore of Babylon.
- She's Lillith. I don't really know much about Lillith as I haven't got far enough in the storyline yet, so I have avoided reading too much about her. Could be possible.
- She's just some girl with power who is looking for more. Seems likely, but there is also a lot of effort to make her seem more than that. Apparently the Illuminati report at the end of the quest refers to her as a mortal who grew up in Georgia and is interested in sex and magic.
- She's an anthropomorphic representation of Gaia. Again, possible. Gaia is behind the bees and recruiting all the secret worlders to aid in her defence against the dark days.
I find this kind of discussion fascinating. People are now discussing her ring (is it concentric dots? a honeycomb?) and the design on her T-shirt (I think that's taking things a little too far!). One thing is for sure, a seemingly minor character in the game has suddenly gained a lot more importance.
The characterisation of NPCs in The Secret World really is second to none in MMO terms. The Old Republic upped the ante in this regard, but TSW has trumped it by some way. Many of the characters seem to be really well written and fleshed out, with their own motives and aims. The game doesn't spell everything out but gives enough clues for the player to be able to draw conclusions.
So, who the hell is Cassandra King? What was in the package? What does she want? She doesn't seem evil per se, but she seems to have an agenda. There are lots of discussions like this on the Lore forum, but I'm avoiding some of them for now as I want to avoid spoilers. Still, I can't wait to find out more. I'm Cassie Curious.
There are lots of characters like this in the game. Just don't get me started on Beaumont...
... or Theodore Wicker...