The Prince of Thieves
|The Prince of Thieves|
|Dates run:||July 14, 2006 - October 1, 2007|
|Plots:||Drop of Nightshade, Wendy, Voodoo Child, New Orleans Is Sinking|
"Faut déverminager enfer, LeBeau. I will get you yet."
Belladonna Boudreaux-LeBeau has long wanted to take control of the Guilds from the existing leaders. Due to agreements stretching back over two centuries, the five New Orleans Guilds have maintained a status quo in terms of power in the city, limiting the damage of open infighting by a more shadowy and subtle game. While all five Guilds have profited from this, it has made them a divided force against the ethnic and immigrant population of the city, and their voudoun leaders, like Tante Mattie.
Belladonna, having already used Gambit to remove her eldest brother years ago, took special notice of his return during the events in Brood. The return of such a powerful ally to Tante required her to accelerate her carefully laid out plans.
A series of violent actions and reprisals forced a meeting of the existing Guildmasters in order to forestall a potential war between them. Not realizing that the actions were the secret work of Belladonna, they attended the meeting on a ship on the water, only to all be killed as it was destroyed by an explosive charge.
Using falsified evidence, Belladonna blamed the attack on the Thieves Guild, and with the support of both the Courtiers and the Forgers, brought charges on most of their leading members. With her father and brother Daniel believed dead on the boat, Belladonna assumed control of the Guild unopposed. During the meeting, most of the high level Thieves who had not already fled the city were arrested by Guild forces, and executed following a short trial.
Following a failed attempt to eliminate both Remy and Tante, Belladonna moved towards consolidating her hold. She kept her council together, and forced them to remove the old separations, putting all of the Guilds under her orders. For the first time, all of the New Orleans Guilds - Phase 1|New Orleans Guilds officially answered to one person.
In response, the exiled members of the Thieves Guild, as well as many disaffected members from the other four guilds left New Orleans, believing Belladonna's rule to be unmerited by Guild law. Some stayed neutral, but many ended up working with Arlen D'Armande, the new interim Guildmaster. In turn, Remy worked with Arlen, using his own networks to help hide and connect the wide-spread elements.
Arlen, knowing that disposing Belladonna was a long shot at best, began to circulate a rumour. Over thirty years ago, a Thieves Guildmaster was ambushed and killed with his wife. Their son, only a few months old, was never found. According to Arlen, that son was Remy LeBeau, the rightful heir to the Guildmaster's seat.
Meanwhile, Belladonna focused on strengthening her position. Following the assassination attempt, Tante Mattie had retreated into the depths of the swamp, leaving Belladonna unopposed to complete her domination over the other Guilds. She continued to attack Remy indirectly, participating in Arcade's twisted survival game involving him and Ororo Munroe, as well as working for Candra in the kidnapping of Amanda and the students. In both incidents, Belladonna's intention was to continue to wear the man down, without provoking a direct war with either him or the X-Men.
During these attacks, Remy's own network of Guild members grew, including the additional of Daniel Boudreaux, Belladonna's younger brother who was thought killed in the explosion on the boat. While he was able to keep them coordinated, there was little they could do to check Belladonna's growing power.
Finally, through the use of a mystically empowered hurricane, Belladonna sought to complete her plans by trapping the poorest segment of New Orleans in the city when it struck. The storm would shatter the followers of the voudoun, breaking Tante's power and leaving the new unified Guild as the only major power in the city. With the intervention of X-Force, her plan failed.
Following that loss, Arlen publicly denounced Belladonna, revealing evidence of her involvement in the slaying of her own father. Javier Boudreaux, her father's own bodyguard, was instrumental in recovering the details. Further, Arlen pushed forward Remy's claim, noting that because the marriage between him and Belladonna was still legitimate under guild law, Remy had the superior claim to the Assassin's Guild, and to the council as well.
Belladonna, beaten and outmatched, was forced to flee the city, with the Assassin's Guild close behind looking to take revenge on her. Remy took control of the Guilds long enough to return them back to the former arrangement, once again splitting them up into factions. He also formally abdicated all claims to the positions and left the Guilds in the hands of new Guildmasters.
Later, LeBeau confronted Arlen, forcing him to admit that the evidence that Remy was a slain Guildmaster's son was fabricated, although he had discovered Remy's true parents, and that he was born into both the Assassins and Thieves Guild before his parents were killed and he was left on the street. Surprisingly, LeBeau destroyed the information Arlen passed over to him about his parents unread, deciding that his past no longer defined who he was.
Following those events, Tante Mattie announced that she was finally passing over control over the voudoun community to a new person, retiring to her bayou shack. Belladonna, now hunted by the Guilds, remains at large with a small number of Assassins loyal to her.
Drop of Nightshade - Remy returns to New Orleans with Lorna Dane, following his healing at the hands of Amanda Sefton. There, he discovers that the Guildmasters have been killed, and only their timely intervention stops the same thing happening to Tante.
Wendy - Remy and Ororo are forced into a cross-country survival game by Arcade, in order to help him recoup the loss he suffered at their hands in Remy's Eleven. Belladonna not only provided information leading to LeBeau, but also fielded a team of assassins into the competition.
Voodoo Child - As part of a plot to bring back Selene, the students, X-Men and X-Force are hit at the same time. Belladonna kidnaps a van full of students driven by Angelo and Amanda, and delivers Amanda to Candra to be tortured before escaping.
New Orleans Is Sinking - Belladonna uses a ritual to call down a devastating hurricane on the trapped poor population of the city. Storm and X-Force are able to stop it while LeBeau works with Tante Mattie to overthrow Belladonna from her position and sending her into exile.
Trivia and Meta
During the course of the arc, Remy not only began his relationship with Ororo, but also finally came to terms with the aspects of his past, not only as Gambit, but also as an orphan.
Amanda was re-scarred in a manner identical as when she first came to the school during Voodoo Child. Gambit, while fighting for control over Remy, promised that he would ensure that very thing would happen, almost two years beforehand.
The New Orleans Guilds - Phase 1|New Orleans Guilds now possess five completely new Guildmasters, all of which met with Remy during the events of Brood. At that time, they were considered no more than 'up and coming'.
The Prince of Thieves was concieved during a player hiatus over Christmas 2005. As originally designed, each plot involves widely different casts, with the only common element between them to be Belladonna and Remy.