X-Men Adventures (Vol 2) #6: Down on the Bayou

Gambit takes off in an X-Jet for New Orleans in a mysterious hurry. This prompts Jean, Rogue and Wolverine to track Gambit down. Gambit’s past is uncovered, as an ex-member of the Guild of Thieves.

Once every ten years, the Guild of Thieves and Guild of Assassins make offerings to the External at an appointed hour. A representative, with the offering of the “tithe”, will be granted strength and powers. If the tithe is not presented at the precise hour, the representative will thus be killed.

Ten years ago, Gambit witnessed the death of a guild member. After the ceremony, new representatives are chosen from each guild. Belladonna, his ex-fiancée, from the Assassins and Bobby, his brother, from the Thieves. Gambit had left the guild because of all the unnecessary killings between the guilds.

Gambit returns after receiving a distress call from his former guild. Bobby and the tithe have been captured by the Assassins, who promise an exchange: Gambit for Bobby and the tithe. Belladonna keeps her promise once Gambit puts his wedding ring on. He does it with hesitation for his brother, but the ring turns out to be a device that inhibits his powers, preventing him from escaping.

Meanwhile, Wolverine had tracked Gambit’s scent to the house of the Thieves. The three X-Men fall into a trap set up by the Thieves. The X-Men find out about the trade the Thieves made with the Assassins.

At the Assassins’ house Belladonna reveals that she had set up Gambit’s brother with a fake tithe. She was going to keep both the real tithes as well as Gambit once the presentation to the External was done. Belladonna has Gambit dressed in a tuxedo as she had planned a wedding after the presentation.

The X-Men accompany the Thieves to the presentation to rescue Gambit from the Assassins. Gambit tries to warn the Thieves that Belladonna had given them a fake tithe. Belladonna uses the ring to control Gambit. A forcefield around the ring prevents Wolverine from cutting the ring off Gambit’s finger. With her telekinesis, Jean swipes all the guns from the Thieves and Assassins, who are poised to fight.

The External reveals herself. Belladonna makes her offering. Seeing that Bobby has not made his offer, the External prepares to execute him when the X-Men intervene. Jean telepathically relays the recent events leading up to the presentation. Having dishonoured the tithe, the External lets the Thieves decide Belladonna’s fate. Gambit pleads for mercy on her behalf, to strip her of her powers instead of killing her. The deed is done and Gambit returns to the mansion.

Scott and Jean observe Gambit keeping to himself after his return. After learning about his past, they understand his guard a little better. Confidence is hard to come by, but Scott considers Gambit considering the X-Men his family as a vote of confidence. They also express their concern for Xavier’s absence.

Xavier learns more of Magneto’s experiments in the Savage Lands. The mutates Magneto had created now serve another and wreck havoc among the native lands. They escape deep into the forest after being attacked by the mutates.