So with the completion of Flame and Frost, the players were immediately presented with a new set of challenges - the unrest around the refugees that the Consortium had convinced to settle in Southsun Cove. The events in Southsun played out over two updates, and during that time we encounter some familiar faces, old friends, and hidden enemies.
You can't really tell the entire story of the Secret of Southsun though without first backing up a bit and talking a bit about Southsun Cove itself. Southsun was first discovered by a trading company known as The Consortium. Very little is known about the Consortium's origins, but they seek financial advantage at every opportunity, even going so far as to abandon their comrades if the price is right. We also know they operate with a rigorous and thorough bureaucracy. When you sign a deal with the Consortium, they will absolutely make sure you abide by that contract - by any means necessary.
The Consortium discovered the island of Southsun in the Sea of Sorrows, and found it surprisingly free of Zhaitan's corruption. It was, however, occupied by another race - the Karka. The Karka were an amphibious race, formerly living deep underwater with the Sea of Sorrows. However, the incursions of an elder sea dragon drove them from their homes to the surface, and they settled on Southsun.
|The Karka invade Lion's Arch|
|Inspector Ellen Kiel|
And so it was that the Lionguard established a foothold on the island of Southsun, despite the fact that the Consortium not only maintains their presence there, but claims ownership of the entire island.
|The Consortium's Expanded |
Flash forward now to a few months later. It turns out that despite the presence of the Karka, the Consortium isn't giving up on their plan to turn Southsun Cove into a vacation paradise. They've expanded their presence there, building up and reinforcing the settlements, and successfully completed the Asura Gate between the Cove and Lion's Arch. But they're still having a bit of difficulty getting the wildlife - especially the Karka, under control. Now the Consortium see opportunity where others see peril - and they see opportunity in the flood of refugees coming out of the Wayfarer Foothills and Diessa Plateau. They set up a refugee camp in Lion's Arch, offering food, supplies, and shelter to those that will take it. But it soon becomes clear that they have grander plans in mind.
Once the threat of the Molten Alliance is past, many of the refugees are homeless and jobless. Entire villages have been destroyed, crops burned. The Consortium offered the refugees an alternative - a new life, in a new location. They would be provided homes, food, and shelter, and in turn all they had to do was to work the new settlement, and of course assist with the control of the wildlife. All they had to do was sign a contract.
|Riots among the settlers|
|Syrene, Kasmeer, and Lord Faren take|
time out for a bit of R&R
However, it's not all grim and deadly down in Southsun. Despite the dangers, some people are making their way to the resort, and doing their best to enjoy the tropical flora and fauna. Two among the tourists are Lord Faren, and a lovely nobilewoman named Lady Kasmeer Meade. They could be found down at the beach in Pearl Islet, enjoying the sun, and each other's company. Lord Faren would have been familiar to any player that chose the nobility background, as he plays a prominent role in that story. It appears Lord Faren was involved in some shenanigans in Divinity's Reach involved in a cat beauty contest. He's decided a short vacation to Southsun Cove might be in his best interests.
However, this is the first time we've met the Lady Kasmeer. And at this point, she's a bit of a mystery. We learn that she's a noblewoman. She works with someone name Jory, and she's not terribly pleased with the fact that many of her peers think less of those that are less fortunate than themselves. But she loves the work that she does with her business partner, and it is a fact-finding trip for her that brings her to Southsun. And a chance for a bit of relaxation as well. It's also made clear that she and Lord Faren have known each other since children. So while she may not be entirely enamored with Faren, they are still close friends.
The Plot Thickens
Meanwhile on the island, things take a turn for the worse when one night, a number of Consortium buildings are specifically targeted by the wildlife. It becomes clear to Kiel that not only is someone or something specifically agitating the wildlife, but actually directing their attacks. She launches an investigation of her own, and goes to see Subdirector Noll to ask him about the buildings that were attacked. Subdirector Noll is now living on the island as well, and is in charge of the development efforts there. He remains as nasty and offensive as ever. He informs Inspector Kiel that the buildings attacked were storage depots. They held tools, supplies, and more importantly - records. He also tells her that this is not the only incident. Several of their storage facilities on the mainland have also been destroyed. And he informs her, perhaps to his detriment, that the records that remain in the storage facilities are the only copies of the contracts now between the settlers and the Consortium.
After one of the more severe attacks by the wildlife on the Consortium settlement in Driftglass Springs, a crucial piece of information is discovered. Assisting in the fight herself, Inspector Kiel finds a refugee that confesses to helping in the attacks. The refugee, who's name is Henrika, tells Inspector Kiel that her and a number of the other refugees have been helping a rough-looking sylvari. He promised them that no one would get hurt but the Consortium, and the contracts that bound them to Southsun would be destroyed. Kiel knows immediately who the sylvari is: Canach. It would appear that the fugitive has returned, and is trying to exact his vengeance on Noll and the Consortium for, at least in his eyes, ruining his life.
Canach has, in fact returned, and it is he that is responsible for goading the wildlife into attacking the settlers. He has created a plant based reagent that affects the adrenal gland of the animals, agitating them to the point of aggressiveness. Furthermore, he has come up with a way to mark targets, so that the animals will attacks specific objects. The Lionguard fan out across the island, and eventually track Canach back to his lair, hidden down within the caves and tunnels that run through the island.
|Entering the Lair of Canach|
Inspector Kiel realizes that this is exactly the opportunity she has been looking for. She decrees that the circumstances now dictate a security emergency. For everyone's safety the contracts must be moved off of the island - and to ensure that it's done securely, the Lionguard will see to the removal. She informs Noll that this is strictly nonnegotiable.
|The contracts are escorted to|
Noll, is of course, horrified. But Kiel is inordinately pleased. Of course, she claims that Canach must have been one step ahead of them after all, and that the destroyed ship must have been his doing. But she assures Noll (and the player) that she gave orders for the Lionguard to abandon ship should anything bad happen, so no one was injured in the sinking of the ship. With the contracts destroyed, the refugees are no longer bound to the Consortium, and are free to leave the island.
Over at the resort, both Faren and Kasmeer also feel that vacation is over, and pack their things and prepare to return to Lion's Arch.
All in all, things wrap up fairly well for Kiel and the Lionguard. Or as Captain Magnus the Bloody Handed puts it..
"But Canach's in custody, the settlers are happy, and Noll is furious. I call that a good day's work!"