The hangar at Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, in Salem Center, New York. A small jet speeds out the side of the open hangar that appears like a large gap in a rocky cliff face. Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit pilots the jet, while in the hangar, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan asks Jean Grey 'What was that all about?' Suddenly, Rogue rushes towards them and reports that Gambit just got a message from New Orleans that his sibling was in a heap of trouble. 'Maybe that explains why he just grabbed a mini-jet and took off!' Jean suggests. 'Crazy Cajun – never saw him so spooked! Wonder what he's up to – especially since I hear he don't like his brother' Wolverine adds.
At that moment, 'Gotta get home or dey gonna waste Bobby!' Gambit thinks to himself. 'Dat fool! Dat thieving fool! Serve him right if det get him!' Gambit decides, recalling that Pierre told him that Bobby disappeared, and if he isn't there with the tithe box, there is going to be problems. As the mini-jet streaks through the air, Remy remembers that Bobby was always in trouble in the swamps, even ten years back when they were all just kids playing games, and remembers a night with Bernard.
A man in a trenchcoat runs through a swampy forest, carrying a small golden box. 'Can't let dem catch me! Gotta run!' he thinks to himself, before stopping behind a tree to hide and gather his breath. He glances around nervously and thinks that he outran his pursuers, as he doesn't hear anything – but suddenly, a blinding light shines towards him and he looks shocked: 'Remy! Didn't mean no harm!' he calls out as Remy LeBeau and others approach him. 'You crazy, Bernard? Stealing de tithe!' Remy exclaims. Remy warns Bernard that he doesn't know the External, that she doesn't get it – somebody will pay. Bernard begins to ask why they are afraid of the External, before Remy snatches the golden box from him. 'Gimme dat box!' he snaps. Remy turns to the other men he is with and tells him that he hopes they make it in time, or else the Thieves Guild is going to be looking real bad. He supposes that the Assassins guild is probably at the site now – doing what the Thieves Guild ought to be. He hopes Bobby is already there, too.
Nearby, several figures wearing extravagant, caped costumes stand near a tree stump beside a river in the swamp. 'Dere. Now de tithe offering read for de External' a man wearing a black masked costume with gold accessories and a red cape exclaims. The woman at his side has a green costume and addresses him as Beau, before pointing out that now they wait. Beau calls her Bella Donna and asks here where the Thieves Guild are with their offering. Suddenly, Remy, Bernard and the other members of the Thieves Guild appear and run towards the tree stump, with Remy declaring that the Thieves are never gonna come off second best to the Assassins Guild. 'Get to the stump!' Bernard exclaims, while Beau tells them that they got there just in time, and points to the water bubbling in the river alongside them.
Suddenly, a woman bursts from the river, wearing a red, black and gold costume, she exclaims 'Ten years! Have passed! The time for tithing has come!' She looks angry as she instructs ther Guild of Assassins to send their chosen one forward. Beau kneels before the woman who hovers over thje tree stump and tells the woman that he honors her with the tithe on the stump. 'Great External, accept our offering' he asks her. 'By your covenant, your powers shall be increased' the External responds, as energy washes over the members of the Assassins Guild. 'Strength and protection from the powers of mortal men' the External declares. The External turns to the Guild of Thieves and instructs them to send forward their chosen one. Bernard steps forward and nervously speaks to the External, before dropping the tithe on the ground, cracking it. 'You offered no tithe at the chosen hour! You broke the covenant!' the External declares, announcing that to betray the tithe is dishonor foul.
'Fly from this world to a darkness never-ending!' the External calls out as energy beams blast from her eyes and engulf Bernard, vaporizing him. The External turns to Bella Donna and casts energy over her, causing her as she tells her that she is the new chosen one for the Assassins. The External then looks at Robert LeBeau and washes energy over him as she tells him that he is now the chosen one for the Thieves guild. Remy looks concerned at this, while the External states that in ten years more, they will tithe again, as through the centuries they have. 'Fail me, Assassin or Thief, and all your kind shall join the conspirator in oblivion. The External tells them to be faithful to the tithe, and unimaginable powers shall be their reward. The other members of the Thieves Guild begin chanting 'Chosen one' over and over.
The memories of the chant 'Chosen one' resonate in Remy's mmind as he bites his lip, a look of determination on his face, he knows he has to help Bobby now.
A short time later, the mini-jet descends at a riverbank outside New Orleans, and surveying his surroundings, Remy decides that the place hasn't changed much, before noticing someone standing on a small boat on the river. Remy addresses him as Pierre and tells him that he looks good, before asking how he is holding up. Pierre tells Remy that he looks good, too, before reporting that they have word on his brother. 'Tell me! What de matter?' Remy exclaims. Pierre informs Remy that the Assassins have Bobby – and their tithe. 'Dey attack on de day of de tithe. Come, Remy – we gotta move'. Gambit hangs his head and asks 'Who care 'bout de stupid tithe! When it gonna stop?' He gets into the small boat with Pierre as he remarks that Assassins kill Thieves and Thieves kill Assassins – for three centuries now, and no one even knows why anymore. 'Dis feud crazy!' Remy declares. But Pierre informs Remy that the Assassins don't want to kill. 'No? Then what?' Remy asks. 'Bobby and de tithe...for you' Pierre reveals. Gambit frowns as he mutters that it is going to be a long night for them.
Shortly, the X-Men's Blackbird jet descends near where Gambit left the mini-jet. 'Hope we don't sink!' one of the X-Men calls out from within the Blackbird. Wolverine, Jean Grey and Rogue emerge from the Blackbird, and Jean reports that, according to the map, this is the Teche Bayou. 'Seen one ya seen 'em all, babe' Wolverine replies, before sniffing the air and informing the others that he has picked up Gambit's scent heading down to the river. But at the river's edge, Logan reports that they are out of luck, assuming Remy took a boat, he wonders where he went.
At that moment, at an antebellum mansion miles downstream, Remy and Pierre step onto the riverbank, where an Assassin holding a large weapon steps towards them and asks them who they are here to see. 'Remy LeBeau... here to see my brother' Gambit reports. Gambit is led into the mansion by the Assassin, and Gambit remarks 'Shouldn't we be wipin' de feet first?' to which Pierre tells him to be quiet. The Assassin stops at the top of a dark staircase and tells Gambit to follow him. 'Ain't got no lights, homme. Dark down dere' Gambit points out. 'Too bad' the Assassin replies. 'No way to treat a guest. Where de complaint box?' Gambit jokes, before the Assassin motions him towards a cell in the basement.
From within that cell, 'Who dere? Can't see!' Bobby LeBeau calls out from where he is tied to a stack of bricks. 'It's me, Bobby' Remy calls out to his brother. 'Remy! So my big brother de X-Man come home for de visit!' Bobby utters. Gambit stands over his brother and tells him that he knows why he has come, and that he wants nothing to do with any of them. 'You got me in de Guild, Bobby - made me a thief!' Gambit exclaims, to which Bobby tells him that he thought he wouldn't come, that he thought he would leave him to die. 'I should have... brother' Remy replies. 'I should have. But I am your brother...thought I take no pride in dat' Remy declares as he lifts Bobby up by his collar. 'P-please' Bobby begins, before Remy tells him that Pierre told him that the Assassins are going to let him deliver the tithe tonight. 'Where is it?' Gambit enquires. 'She has it' Pierre tells him. Gambit gets annoyed and tells Bobby not to play games. 'Who -?' he begins, before Bella Donna enters the cell and announces that she does.
'Why you do dis?' Gambit asks, turning to Bella Donna, who asks him if he likes her dress – she wore it on the day they were going to be wed – but he never saw it. Gambit reminds Bella Donna that they tried to bring the Guilds together, but it didn't work. 'Dey wouldn't let us live' he adds. 'You could have taken me with you, LeBeau' Bella Donna snaps, but Gambit reminds her that they were young, and he was scared. Bella Donna smiles and informs Gambit that she still wears his ring, and that she has one for him. She tells Gambit to wear it, and then that no good brother of his can go free to deliver the Thieves' tithe. She reveals that they only kidnapped him to get Remy here. 'What you say Remy? New beginning?' Bella Donna asks. She grins and holds the ring up, asking Remy what he has to lose. 'Dat's right. Take it' Bella Donna grins as Gambit takes the ring. Bella Donna instructs the other Assassin to give Bobby the tithe box and let him go.
Bobby takes the golden box and apologizes to his brother, before telling him that he has to go, as he runs out of the cell. 'Yeah, see you 'round, brother' Remy frowns before he puts the ring on one of his fingers and asks Bella Donna what this means. Bella Donna's eyes glow with energy as she tells Remy that she has been waiting ten years for this moment – him not leaving her again – she sees to that. Gambit's ring finger begins to hurt and notices that the ring starts to glow. 'What's happening, Bell?' he calls out, before he cries out in pain, while Bella Donna tells him that it is a special ring, and to try and use his powers to charge the cards with that energy. Gambit holds up a card, but finds that nothing happens – he can't even get the card to fizzle. 'Guess dat's how it's gonna be as long as I wear de ring. Thanks, Bell' Gambit mutters.
Meanwhile, at the counterpart Thieves Guild Mansion, 'So the Cajun lived in this dump, huh?' Wolverine remarks as he looks over at the run-down mansion, and Rogue tells him that according to the Professor's records, this is the place. Logan tells Jean and Rogue that there is no time like the present, and suggests they make an entrance. 'You always make an entrance, Wolvie' Rogue jokes as she follows Wolverine into the mansion. 'You got that right, darlin' Logan replies, when suddenly, a panel in the floor opens and the trio fall to the basement beneath. 'Jean! Can yuh -' Rogue begins, to which Jean tells her that she is already lowering the two of them telekinetically, while Logan tells Jean not to worry about him, as he can land on his feet. 'Stay alert! I see the welcoming committee with some popguns!' Logan alerts his teammates as he sees several armed figures standing nearby, while bright lights shine down on him, Jean and Rogue. 'I'll be relieving them of, shortly!' Jean calls out as she telekinetically removes the guns from the Thieves Guild members hands, to their surprise.
The three X-Men ready for battle against the Thieves Guild, as Wolverine asks them if they are ready for some fisticuffs, as he knows a couple of cuties who just love to rumble. 'Where's Bobby? Where's our tithe?' one of the guild members asks. Suddenly, Pierre rushes into the basement and tells the guild member, who he calls Jacques, to stop, as Remy came and made the switch. Wolverine forces Pierre up against a wall and puts his fist to Pierre's neck, two of his adamantium claws popped on either side of the frightened Pierre's face. 'Before I have to tickle yer tonsils with my trusty middle claw – tell me...what switch?' Logan demands. 'For his brother... for his tithe. She bring him to the tithe' Pierre explains. 'She?' Rogue asks. 'Bella Donna – leader of de Assassin clan. Their chosen one. His woman' one of the Thieves explains. 'His... woman?' a wide-eyed Rogue gasps.
Back at the Assassins Guild's mansion, 'I saved it for you' Bella Donna remarks, her eyes glowing as she looks at Gambit, who stands in a tuxedo before her. Bella Donna tells him that it is a beautiful outfit, that he needs it after the tithe, when they marry. Gambit asks Bell why she pretends – as she knows the Thieves won't let him stay with her. Bella Donna grins as she produces a golden box and informs Remy that after tonight there will be no Thieves. 'You think I give dem de real tithe?' she asks. 'You were traded for a worthless brother – and an even more worthless box!' Bella Donna reveals, boasting that when it is given to the External, she will destroy all of the Thieves.
Later that night, at the bayou clearing, Wolverine, Rogue and Jean Grey stand with several members of the Thieves Guild near the tree stump. One of the Thieves reports that the External will come in less than five minutes, and adds that he hopes the Assassins are bringing the tithe. 'What do you care? If they're a no show, the bogie lady melts 'em and you take over' Wolverine points out, before Jean announces that she sees something through the fog. A moment later, Remy, Bella Donna, Beau and other members of the Assassins Guild appear. Bella Donna announces that they are ready for the ceremony – and they have brought their newest member, Remy LeBeau. 'Got something to say' Remy begins, before he pushes Bella Donna backwards and informs the Thieves that Bella Donna gave them a fake tithe. 'Remy, no, don't -' Bella Donna begins, before her eyes flash and she shouts 'Traitor! You gonna pay – now!'
The ring around Remy's finger glows and Remy drops to his knees, in pain, he pleads for the ring to be removed. Wolverine grabs Remy by his wrist and tells him to bite his lip, while he holds one of his claws to the ring, explaining that he will slice through the wedding band and then he'll be all right. 'You ain't the marrying kind, anyway' Logan jokes. Gambit closes his eyes and asks Wolverine to hurry, as he can't take the pain much longer – but Logan finds that he can't get through, that some kind of force field is stopping him. Logan's hand begins to hurt – the pain is brutal, so he yanks his hand back, away from the ring. 'Hope ya signed a pre-nuptial, Bub!' Logan exclaims, before the Thieves Guild hold up guns, one of them shouts that the Assassins Guild betrayed them, and that they have no honor. 'Dat crazy woman break her word! We had enough!' Pierre exclaims. The Assassins Guild also hold up weapons, much larger ones, as Beau tells the Thieves Guild that they are too stupid to have checked the box they have them, and that soon it will make no difference. But before the Guilds can open fire on each other, Jean Grey steps between them and admits that she can't stop them from hating each other, but she can exercise a little gun control so they can settle their differences in a less lethal way, before using her telekinesis to grab the guns from both Guilds, and holds them up in the air, out of reach.
Rogue looks over to Bella Donna and warns Wolverine that she is making a grab for the box. 'I got eyes, Rogue' Wolverine snarls, and declares that if their little princess there knows what is healthy for her, she will freeze. 'Ya hear me, lady? My patience is running thin with you Cajuns, so be cool and keep that hand hovering or -' Logan begins as he leaps towards Bella Donna, only to ask 'What's with that freaky look?' as Bella Donna looks up at him, then uses her powers to fling Wolverine through the air, slamming him into a tree. Jean rushes over and puts a telekinetic field around Logan, asking him what Bella Donna did, and whether he is hurt. 'Nah, I'm just gonna attack her upside down and catch her off guard! I been working on it in the Danger Room' Wolverine replies sarcastically.
Bella Donna's eyes glow as she looks at Rogue, who marches towards her, announcing that the fun and games are over. Rogue declares that she means business, and points out that unless they find the real box, every thief here is going to take the fall. Rogue demands that Bella Donna 'fess up before that External creature shows up. 'Tell me where the box is – now' Rogue demands. But, before Bella Donna can respond, the External bursts up from the river. 'The time has come! Ten years have passed! Chosen ones – Assassin and Thief – step forward!' she calls out. Bella Donna places the tithe on the tree stump and tells the External that the Guild of Assassins honor her. 'Your tithe is true! By our covenant your powers shall be increased!' the External responds, before turning to Bobby LeBeau, who stands at the stump with no tithe. 'And you?' she asks. 'Please, great External...de Thieves Guild has -' he begins, to which the External snaps 'Dishonored the tithe!' She grits her teeth and looks furious as she informs Bobby that he must pay with his life.
Before the External can act, though, Rogue steps in front of Bobby LeBeau and tells him to get back, that she will take the brunt of it. Rogue looks up at the External and informs her that there has been some heavy treachery here tonight, and asks her not to do anything until they make the Assassins come clean. 'Ya'll be taking out an innocent man! And we ain't letting that happen!' Wolverine adds. 'Interlopers! Defilers! You have taken sides in a ritual not of your concern!' The External declares, raising a hand towards the X-Men, before she stops, as images flood her mind. She sees Gambit knocking Bella Donna back and warning the Thieves that she gave them a fake box, and the Thieves and Assassins armed, ready to shoot each other down. Jean Grey suddenly falls backwards, but Wolverine catches her and asks her what happened. Jean explains that she reached into the External's mind and showed her telepathic images of Bella Donna betraying the Thieves. Thes strain was great though, and Jean passes out.
The External lifts Bella Donna into the air and tells her that if what she has seen is true, then she has endangered the sacred tithe. 'You know the price!' the External exclaims, while Bella Donna tries to protest that she didn't mean to, before the External snaps 'No more lies! You – chosen one of the Thieves...pronounce sentence! Your enemy has become mine!' 'Destroy her! Destroy them all!' Bobby LeBeau calls out to the External, grinning as he looks up at her, before Gambit punches his brother in the face and tells him to shut up. 'Take her powers, not her life! Listen to Remy LeBeau!' Remy calls out to the External, who responds by dropping Bella Donna to the ground. 'I have heard you. It is done' the External tells him, before she vanishes. 'Merci...External. Merci...' Gambit utters, before the ring slips from his finger, and he is no longer in any pain. Gambit turns to Bella Donna and tells her that it is over. Bella Donna frowns and asks Remy not to leave her again, and to forgive her. But Gambit tells Bella Donna that this is not his home, he is not a Thief or an Assassin – but an X-Man. 'I'm leaving – and ain't never coming back to you!'
Hours later, at the X-Mansion, Gambit sits on the front steps, charging one of his playing cards with his kinetic energy, while Jean Grey and Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops looks out a window at their teammate. Jean points out that Gambit has barely spoken since they got back. 'Can you blame him? An ugly part of his past was thrown back in his face today' Scott replies. Jean reminds Scott that they are his surrogate family, so they should be the ones Gambit confides in. 'Trust doesn't come easily to a man like Gambit. But he stays with the X-Men and that means something' Scott adds. Jean gazes upwards out the window and confides to her partner that sometimes she feels lost herself, and that she thinks it would all be so much simpler to sort out if Professor Xavier were with them. Scott frowns and tells Jean that he knows, but reminds her that there has been no sign of the Professor for weeks. 'Where is he?' Scott wonders.
At that moment, in a hidden jungle beneath Antarctica, to where Charles Xavier and his arch-enemy, Magneto were mysteriously lured. The duo walk into a village that has been set on fire, and Magneto informs Charles that this is a village of the Fall People, natives he often encountered on his prior journeys to this bizarre land. Charles points out that it is scorched beyond recognition and asks who – or what – could be responsible for such an act. Suddenly, a four-armed man wearing a loin cloth appears and boasts 'I – Barbarus – am the one responsble!' He declares that the Savage Land Mutates have risen to take what is theirs – by force. 'This land is ours!' Barbarus exclaims. Magneto frowns and narrows his eyes as he tells Barbarus that he did not create him for this purpose. 'Desist and do as I say! Obey me!' Magneto exclaims.
'So, Magnus, this four-armed terror is more of your ghoulish handiwork! How many more horrors exist down here that are your creation?' Xavier asks. Magneto tells him to be silent and move away, realizing that Barbarus is preparing to attack. 'Our powers have deserted us since we came here. Retreat may offer the best hope of survival' Xavier replies. Suddenly, Barbarus wraps his arms around Magneto, 'Here, my creator, let me welcome you back to your children – with a nice big hug! Barbarus exclaims. Magneto screams, but Barbarus asks him not to, as he wants to hear the sound of his bones snapping, before revealing that the Mutates serve a new master now, and have no need of him. Xavier notices a beehive hanging from a tree branch above Barbarus, so picks up a spear from the ground and pokes the beehive, causing the bees to swarm around Barbarus, who releases Magneto as he tries to swat the bees away from him.
Charles tells Magneto that they must run while Barbarus is distracted. Magneto gasps for breath as he tells Charles to head into the jungle. They run onwards and Magneto tells Charles that he improvises well, before declaring that they shall survive to extract revenge on his ungrateful “offspring”. Charles glances back to the village and wonders what Magneto has wrought here in his arrogance. 'God help us...what have you wrought?' he thinks to himself.