I wasn' surprised when de supposed unveilin' of de contents of de Casket of All Tomorrows went wrong an' revealed nothin'. Bella Donna was, an' I got a feelin' de ministers were too. But in reality, when dey told me de casket was empty, I wasn' shocked. I was kinda surprised everyone else was, actually. Surely dey didn' t'ink my b'comin' de guild patriarch would go smoothly. I didn'.
When Papa called me to come down to Nawlins an' den left thirty seconds after tellin' me I was de one chosen by de prophecies to be de new leader of de T'ieves Guild, I was shocked den. He'd known all my life I didn' want dat. My feelin's towards de idea hadn' changed any but yet he still left me standin' dere wit' my mouth hangin' open like it was de time I learned Julien Boudreaux was still alive even t'ough we'd all seen him die. But he still handed over his job to me without a second glance an' I never heard from him again. It came as no surprise to me den, dat somethin' went wrong. Heaven forbid anythin' in my life be easy…
Since by de time de unveilin' took place I wasn' jus' de patriarch of my own guild, but of both, wit' Bella Donna as my viceroy, it didn' take me long to figure out who had tampered wit' de casket an' de hospital records surroundin' my birth. Dey didn' deny it when I called dem on it, b'cause bot' of dem know dat I know dey hate me. Theoren hates me b'cause of my part in his little brother's death. An' Gris-Gris hates me b'cause of my part in his good friend Julien's death (the first time). So, Gris used his magic to destroy de contents of de casket without leavin' a trace of evidence, an' Theoren put his own specialty to work an' stole de hospital records from de computers, also without a trace. When I asked dem why dey did it, deir answer was what shocked me.
Papa told dem to.
De man who adopted me, raised me, arranged a marriage dat was doomed to failure for me an' de girl I loved, kicked me out of de only family I'd ever known, called me back time an' again to help dat same family out of tight spots, an' ultimately handed over his position as patriarch of de family also jeopardized de future of his own family without blinkin'. How am I s'posed to feel 'bout dat one, huh?
I actually gotta give him credit, t'ough, hard as it might be to b'lieve dat. He did all dose t'ings, oui. But de last one he did b'cause he knew it might result in me getting what I wanted: kicked out of my position.
If only I could've been so lucky.
Bella Donna prob'ly shouldn' have done it, an' I have a feelin' some of dem would be pretty upset wit' her if dey found out, but she tol' me how each of dem voted. After de failed unveilin', Gris an' Theo called a vote of confidence durin' which de Guild was supposed to decide if I should remain patriarch or not. I asked Bel to tell me how dey'd all voted after I found out de results; I'd had a pretty good idea on most of dem, but I got a few surprises.
In spite of knowin' most of dem all my life, I'd always been an outsider. I managed to form a few strong alliances in de Guilds, but not many. I had expected a vast majority of votes against keepin' me on as leader.
I t'ink it goes without sayin' dat de men who called de election bot' voted no.
Gris-Gris, who was third-in-command of de Assassins Guild while Marius was still alive an' who was second-in-command under Bella Donna b'fore de unification, has always hated anyone connected to Clan LeBeau an' de T'ieves Guild. I don' t'ink he really hated me for most of my life, until I killed Julien (or so we t'ought). All I can say is, Julien started it. But I'm not tryin' to justify my actions here. In reality, I have quite a bit of respect for Gris. He is exceptionally good at what he does, he takes tradition very seriously and his loyalty to his family is unshakable.
As for Theoren, second-in-command of de Thieves Guild under Papa an' den myself b'fore de unification, I don' t'ink he ever trusted me or liked me. I remember one time when I was eleven, I overheard him an' Papa arguin' over my presence in de guild. It was de first real time dat it occurred to me dat some of dem really weren' happy havin' me 'round. I t'ink Theo really lost patience wit' me when he found out it was b'cause I used my developin' mutant powers dat Etienne died. Et was my friend, one of de few I'd made, an' he was also Theo's much-adored baby brother. His death hit everyone hard; but none harder den Theo, who refuses to forgive me even t'ough he knows now dat it had been a very bad accident.
I also wasn' too surprised to learn dat Minister Tome an' Minister Hoard also voted against me. Dey've hated me ever since I helped Papa try to get de Antiquary's scriptures an' research. If I didn' know Gris an' Theo better, I'd t'ink dey got Tome an' Hoard in on deir scheme to ruin my leadership, but I don' t'ink dat's de case. Tome an' Hoard wouldn' have done it anyway. Dey take every guild ceremony, whether it be traditional or religious or both, extremely seriously an' dey wouldn' jeopardize it for anythin', not even if Papa asked dem to himself. Quite frankly t'ough, I don' t'ink dey like any member of dis guild unless it's in deir personal best interests to be nice an' friendly to get what dey want.
Questa, de unofficial shadow-puppet of Gris, also voted in favor of kickin' me out of my position. He ain' a lot older'n me, but his past is jus' as shrouded in mystery an' pain as mine, so I can kinda understand him goin' along wit' whatever Gris says an' does. I can' say much 'bout him, b'cause I don' know him dat well, but I do know he's jus' as ruthless an' loyal as Gris an' I know he'd do anythin' for his family, which is admirable, to say de least.
De final no vote came from Claude an' I wasn' too surprised by dat either. Claude's always been de kind of person to stick in de shadows an' observe what's goin' on 'round him without makin' too many comments 'bout it. I had been t'inkin' bout de members of de guild after dey told me de vote had been called, an' I knew Claude could go either way. I figured he'd go de way Theoren went b'cause dey're very close friends. He doesn' often make waves or contradict what Theo says, but he also has a mind of his own an' does what he t'inks is de right t'ing for de guild. I'm almost glad he voted against me, b'cause it tol' me he did what he t'ought was right, which, deep down, is what I wanted dem all to do.
I was more shocked by which members of de guild voted to keep me as patriarch. Well, some of dem anyways.
Tante Mattie led de yes-party an' I don' t'ink it surprised anyone in de room. She is de guild's spiritual healer an' prob'ly more important, our mother figure, an' has been for many, many years. She raised most of us, some from birth, as if we were her own flesh-and-blood children. She an' I have a special rapport; I can' explain it an' I'm not sure she can either. She tries to keep us all on a moral path, which must be a tryin' job for her considerin' who she has to deal wit', but she loves us an' we love her, an' in her eyes dat makes up for everythin'.
My sister-in-law, Mercy, also voted yes, an' apparently was surprised dat Bel had even bothered to ask her. Mercy is one of de few who formed a bond wit' me from de start; whether or not dat's b'cause her husband was my brother, I couldn' tell you, but it doesn' matter. She's always seen t'rough every lie I ever told an' she won' let me forget it either. She tol' me not too long ago dat she'll do whatever she can to help me be a good guild patriarch, an' for dat I am eternally grateful. Don' know what I'd do without her, sometimes.
Zoe, de guild's resident Japanese transplant, may have only joined our ranks a few months ago, but she an' I b'came fast friends an' I know I can count on her. She voted yes, but prob'ly more b'cause of our friendship, not de fact dat I saved her life an' de life of her little brother not long after dey arrived here. She don' owe me anythin', an' I've made sure she knows dat. I'm glad she b'lieves in me. So few people do anymore it seems. Includin' myself sometimes.
I was really shocked to learn dat Fifolet voted yes. I had kind of assumed dat he would stick wit' Gris-Gris an' Questa, but apparently he's a non-conformist or somethin'. Mus' be de hair, I don' know. Maybe he jus' t'inks I'll do a good job. He's always seemed to be de most logical an' t'oughtful of de three guys. Ruthless an' evil when de need arises, an' a very good assassin, but I t'ink deep down he's more of an observer den he'll let on. Jus' don' anyone tell him I 'tink dat.
Singer also voted yes, another shock. She an' Fifolet aren' related, but dey seem to be quite a bit alike, b'cause she don' say too much most of de time either. It's so hard to figure out what's goin' on b'hind dose dark glasses of hers; she's very elusive. But it's really nice to know dat not all de assassins hate me. I had t'ought dey'd lead de no votes wit' Theo for sure. Sometimes bein' proven wrong isn' a bad t'ing.
Like wit' Claude, I knew dat Genard could go either way when he voted. Bel tol' me dat Genard gave a reason for votin' yes, an' dat reason was b'cause he respected Papa. In other words, he b'lieves dat if Papa t'ought it was in de guild's best interest for me to be patriarch, den he respects dat an' won' go against it. I admire his loyalty to Papa, but I can' help wishin' he'd voted for or against me based on my own merits, not b'cause of how he felt 'bout Papa. But dat's Genard for you. I don' t'ink he's ever really known what to t'ink of me; perhaps now I'll get a chance to prove myself to him, for better or for worse.
Tante Mattie's an' Mercy's votes didn' surprise me, an' neither did Emil's. He an' I have been best friends since de day we met an' I've lost track of how many times we've risked everythin' for each other. Red's de obnoxious computer-genius slash happy-go-lucky prankster of de family an' I know he drives de rest of de guild crazy, but he's unique an' extremely loyal. De fact dat he voted for me, blatantly goin' against how Theoren (who has been his legal guardian since his father was killed when we were fourteen) voted, proves dat. Den again, he an' Theo haven' really ever seen eye to eye regardin' me. I got a laugh out his vote t'ough. Bel tol' me dat when she asked for his vote he did it in a way only he could pull off. He said ("An' I quote," Bel explained to me later) "Remy, Remy, he's our man, if he can' do it no one can!"
What I want to know is, what I did to deserve havin' my very own one-friend cheerleadin' squad. Ah well. I did say he's unique, remember?
Given Bella Donna's true reason for bringin' de rest of de assassins to New York, I knew b'fore she made de tiebreak vote what she'd do. I couldn' help hopin' she wouldn', but she disappointed me anyway. She voted for me, meanin' I get to remain in my position as guild patriarch. I still don' want de job, like I said, I never did, but I'm glad she t'inks maybe I can do it well. Hell, I don' b'lieve dat. She voted for me b'cause she still loves me, on some level. She said so, when we were trapped in dat buildin'. Do I still love her? I don' know. Maybe a little. But t'ings are so screwy dese days, nothin' seems to be normal, even t'ings dat are normal for de guilds aren' normal anymore. We'll jus' have to wait an' see where it all goes.
Are you happy, wherever you are, Papa? What 'bout you, Marius? You two essentially handed your families over to me, whether you knew it or not, an' now deir fate, deir future, is in my hands. An' while I'm torn between likin' it an' hatin' it, I am de patriarch of de New Orleans Unified Guild of Thieves an' Assassins.
I'm de one chosen to lead dose people to de resurrection of de Old Kingdom, whatever an' whenever de hell dat will be. Gee, t'ank you so much Mister Prophecy Writer!
But you know what? I'm gon' do it. I am gon' do my best to fulfill de prophecies an' do what it is I was put here to do. I know I've done t'ings in de past dat have hurt de family an' let everyone down, but not dis time. It may take awhile, but I will succeed. I'm not doin' it for me, or for any other long-dead-or-gone guild members.
Non. I'm doin' it for de people I've been chosen an' elected to lead. De ones sleepin' upstairs as I write dis, unaware of what I'm doin'. My family. My guild.
God help me fulfill my destiny.