I knew what was goin' to happen b'fore it did. I knew I would have to leave. I didn' want to, but it was somet'ing dat had to be done. I, Jean-Luc LeBeau, patriarch of de New Orleans T'ieves Guild since 1922, had to abandon de Guild an' not tell dem why. So here I am, in a Paris penthouse, an' God only knows what dey're doin' or what's happenin' in Nawlins.
When I tol' Remy I was leavin' an' he was goin' to be in charge of de T'ieves Guild, de look on his face was somet'ing I almost wish I hadn' seen. He never asked for it. He didn' want it. An' I didn' want to force it on him, mais I had no choice. De prophecies plainly said dat le diable blanc, the white devil with the red eyes, would lead a unified Guild to de resurrection. I don' know if de Guilds have joined yet, but I know it will happen someday if it hasn' already.
De night b'fore I left, b'fore Remy even got dere, I did somet'ing I haven' done in a long, long time. All de t'ieves, Theoren, Mercy, Claude, Genard, Emil an' Zoe, were all stayin' de night at de Guild safehouse, somet'ing dey don' usually do. I t'ink maybe dey knew somet'ing was goin' on, but you'd have to ask dem. I don' know for sure.
What did I do, you ask? I went into each of deir rooms an' jus' looked at dem for awhile. I spent de time t'inking 'bout de years I spent leadin' dem, an' all de t'ings we went t'rough together, de good t'ings an' de bad.
I visited Mercy first. My daughter-in-law, widow of my long-dead son Henri. Mercy was de first woman to ever actually join de T'ieves Guild. She is one of de strongest women I have ever known, almost as strong as my mother, Rochelle. She earned her place in de Guild an' no one ever questioned it. I remember de day she married Henri…dat was prob'ly de happiest day of my life. I knew dey were happy, an' it was a good feelin', b'cause usually bad t'ings happen to Guild members.
For instance, about two years b'fore de weddin', Mercy's father was killed by de assassins (actually, de assassins are responsible for de deaths of most of de t'ieves who have passed…). De rest of us, especially Henri an' myself, did what we could to help her t'rough it, but she took it really hard. She an' her father had been very close.
Even harder for both Mercy an' myself to deal wit' was Henri's death. When Remy came back wit' Henri's body, it blew us all away; it was so hard to b'lieve. He had gone to New York to get Remy for de tithing, an' de assassins had followed him an' killed him. De next few weeks an' months were prob'ly de hardest of my life. I dealt wit' my own grief, while helpin' Mercy deal wit' hers. We made quite a pair.
I visited Theoren next. He is my nephew, one of dem anyway. For years, Theo had been my second-in-command, an' I can only hope dat Remy is utilizing his expertise as well.
Theo's a different kind of guy. He doesn' have much of a sense of humor, but I t'ink de reason he's like dat is b'cause both his father an' his grandfather were killed in de same attack by de assassins. Theoren lives a pretty quiet life, not much ever happens to him, an' I t'ink her likes it dat way. He took de deaths of his father an' grandfather pretty hard, but not nearly as hard as what happened ten years ago.
Theoren's younger brother Etienne was turning thirteen. Dat's a special age in de Guild…de age when de kids in de Guild "come of age". Dey go on what we call de "tilling". Dey go on a job to steal somet'ing important. One of de older members of de Guild goes wit' dem as a sponsor. If dey succeed in de tilling, dey become a full member of de Guild. If dey don', dey will never be a Guild member. At any rate, Etienne was goin' on his tilling. Remy was his sponsor. Maybe dat choice was a mistake on my part, but I figured Remy could handle it. Dey got caught by a villain known as the Pig, and Remy tried to use his still developing mutant powers to get dem out. He escaped unharmed, but Etienne was killed.
De hardest t'ing I've ever done in my life was tell Theoren dat his beloved baby brother (Et was a great deal younger than Theo) was dead. Theoren had seen a lot of death in his life, felt a lot of grief. But he changed after dat, he b'came a lot quieter, a lot more cynical. I know he blames Remy for Etienne's death, an' I know Remy blames himself. I jus' hope dat someday dey can overcome deir feelin's.
Next on my visit list was Claude. He's one of de most mysterious members of de Guild, an' certainly one of de quieter ones. Like most of dem, he's de last of his fam'ly, an' I t'ink dat's part of de reason he's so quiet. He never says much, he never has, mais, I've gotten de impression more den once dat he watches everyt'ing dat goes on 'round him. He's a very loyal man, an' de Guild means more to him den anyt'ing else in de world.
After him, I visited Genard, de Guild's true loner. He's more like Claude den most people realize, an' dey're not even related. He stays in de background most times, an' speaks only when he has somet'ing important to contribute. I t'ink he would much rather stay with Tante Mattie an' talk religion den anyt'ing else, but he's a good man, an' has never let de Guild down.
When I looked in on Zoe, de youngest member of de Guild, I couldn' help but wish t'ings were different for her. She's see so much pain and hardship in her young life, I don' t'ink it's fair.
Zoe was excommunicated from de Tokyo T'ieves Guild for stopping de Guild from exploiting her young brother Shirow, who is a mutant. She came to me, on de run from the Pig an' I was obligated to help her. Dat almost got her, Shirow an' Remy killed. By den I was getting so tired of bein' de Guild leader…I jus' wanted out. I knew it would only be a matter of months b'fore I would be, but dose last months were really hard.
When I was making my rounds dat night, I purposely left Emil for last. I sat on the chair in his room for a long time, jus' watchin' him sleep. Emil, like Theoren an' Etienne, is my nephew; he is de only child of my youngest sister. An' I knew dat night dat my leavin' would effect him de most, even more den it would effect Remy.
When Emil was twelve years old, two years after I adopted Remy, de assassins broke into his home an' brutally murdered his parents, unaware dat he was watchin'. I found him some hours later, huddled in de back of his bedroom closet, frightened an' grief-stricken. It took him a long, long time to get over de events of dat day; he had nightmares for weeks afterwards. I promised him, as I sat in de closet holdin' him, dat for as long as I lived, I would be here for him. I said I'd always take care of him.
An' dere I was, thirteen years later, abandoning him without so much as sayin' goodbye.
De next day, Remy came down to Nawlins from New York. I had asked him to come, I told him I had somet'ing important to tell him. When he joined me in my mansion, I explained to him dat I was leavin', an' I told him he was in charge. It was foretold by de prophecies, an' I wouldn' go 'gainst dem. He was confused…I don' blame him for dat. But I walked out de door two minutes after I told him what was goin' on, an' I haven' spoken to him since.
I left him an' de others to fend for demselves. I know dey must be doin' okay, I have an agreement wit' Mattie dat if anyt'ing serious happens to dem she will contact me. She is de only one who knows where I am; she's de only one who knows how to get in touch wit' me. She hasn' so far, so dey must be all right.
Since coming here, dere's been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I t'ink 'bout dose seven people, people I love more den anyone in de world, ev'ry day. I worry 'bout dem, mais deir well-being isn' in my hands anymore. From time to time, I wish it was, but part of me would never go back, an' not jus' b'cause I can'. I hope dey have forgiven me for leavin' dem de way I did, without a real explanation. An' I hope dat if de unification does take place, or if it has already taken place, dat dey don' have too many problems an' conflicts wit' de assassins.
I have faith in dem. I b'lieve dey have de strength, both as a unit an' as individuals, to overcome anyt'ing dat might be thrown at dem. Dey have been taught well, an' trained well. An' dey have Mattie lookin' out for dem. I do miss dem, but I know it's better dat I'm not dere anymore. After all, de prophecies are never wrong.
BACK TO INDEX