Plagues and other great diseases are important parts of history and some settings. They defy man and may even defy God in their swift and terrible punishment upon the body of society.
In addition to the Thieves' Guilds, there is a hierarchy that all thieves are part of. Rank is based on skill, and can be raised or lowered at any time. The Queen of Thieves, the greatest living thief in the world, is the ruler. Guildmasters answer only to her, and she answers to no one at all.