Exodus: The Assassin's Path 94 A Look Ahead...

Exodus: The Assassin's Path -

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Two weeks later on the banks of the Nile, Talia and Quinn were married. Virtual weddings had long since taken the place of real ones, they were legal and had the bonus of being held anywhere you wanted. Talia had made a special avatar for the wedding, just this once she had two bare feet, squeezing the sand between her toes. There were 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen. Anna was the maid of honor and Angel acted as the flower girl. Later that year Talia would give birth to a healthy baby boy, Quinn James Riley.

The starter city of Talon garnered Exodus-Wide attention as the first Player/NPC wedding took place. In the Apple Orchards of Talon, Quinn married Leah Fintree & Mora Jol in a double wedding. Talia served as one of Leah's bridesmaids, while Ren was one of Mojo's.

In Exodus, Cyrus Blood would seem to take a leave of absence from the empire he built up, so he could explore other gaming worlds. He left his fiance and trusted Captain, Eraphia, in charge of everything.

A few months later, Remmy would draw World-Wide attention as she applied and was accepted into the Exodus Engineering Program. Four years later she would graduate first in her cla.s.s of three thousand.

In the next two years, sweeping changes would come to TAP. The Academy of Military, Martial Arts and Science opened its doors. The settlements of Q-Town and Innisfrae would quickly thrive and become cities. The thousands of square miles of swamp that had been repurposed into farming and ranch land was eventually settled as Quinn sponsored two more Land Rush Quests.

The M & Q fishery would eventually supply all of Exodus with Seafood as the Em and Quinn took advantage of the limitless fis.h.i.+ng. The Songbird Tavern and Tattoo parlor became Exodus hotspots for a variety of reason, the presence of the beautiful Songbirds probably had something to do with it.

Jangles would find his true calling as a teacher at the Academy, he eventually gave the leaders.h.i.+p position of Concert Hall to Sparrow, although he maintained his shares and would on occasion recruit students for them. In a development that no one saw coming, he would begin a relations.h.i.+p with Jinn, the two would wed a few years later. Then would have twin daughters that they named Rohas and Tai.

Quinn became a Teacher's a.s.sistant in the Martial Art Department, while he continued to work his way down his TAP hit list. Five years after he started playing TAP, he would complete all hundred steps. The reward he received was a closely guarded secret, but by all accounts was substantial.

In a showdown at the Gunfight Gala, Quinn faced Chained Lightning in a contest that was streamed worldwide. It ended with Quinn winning... .0807 to .0808. They remained the only two gunfighters to break the coveted .09 mark.

Remmy and Tal stayed hard at work in Fora although both were very busy. Tal was the Department Head of Engineering while Remmy was an Engineering student. Three large inland lakes were formed as the well planned Fora construction project moved to its final stages.

Ravenwood seemed to become the wedding capital of Fora in the years to come. Ella Riley married Gus Obreen, the romance that had started decades earlier, finally came to fruition. Daze and Onion would get married in the Courtyard. Craven finally caught up with Grace and after a two-year courts.h.i.+p would also get married.

Ro-Ro would meet make several friends among the fishermen from Portside, she would visit them often as she enjoyed speaking her native tongue of Portuguese. Ro-Ro would eventually marry one of their sons, Arturo Rodriquez. Quinn enjoyed the unlimited mileage he got from a girl named Rohas Rosario Rodriquez, often times he would hum "Row, Row, Row your boat," whenever he saw her.

The Halfling population continued to prosper as Ravenwood became a melting pot of High Elves, Gryphon Wings and Halflings.

**** 15 years later****

Two teenage girls were splas.h.i.+ng each other in the shallow water of Raven river. "You two better get a move on, your moms are going to be mad if you are late."

The pretty red-haired teen frowned at the Dryad. "Ten more minutes Aunty Ro-Ro?"

Her sidekick, a white-haired half-dark elf, smiled at Ro-Ro. "Is our big brother coming today?"

"I'm sure he is since his grandpa is becoming a permanent resident of TAP." Rhapsody handed each of the girls their towels.

"Does it hurt when you die in the hero world, Auntie? The white-haired girl looked like her dark elf mother, but she definitely had her dad's charm.

"Pops has been sick for a while now, we are fortunate to be in a position to continue seeing him."

Rhapsody grasped each of their hands as they walked towards the house. The members of Raven were all wealthy. The technology that HYLO invented had been improved and offered to the public by Orion Media. It was costly, and there were lots of rules involved.

By the time they were climbing the hill to the house, the girls could see Leah and Mojo standing on the porch.

"Oh, c.r.a.p," the one called Sara hung her head in defeat. "We're doomed."

As they approached, the redhead girl slowed her steps. "We can't be that late right?"

"Sasha Riley, you better hurry up here!" Leah crossed her arms in front of her as she scolded her daughter. "You're going to grow fins if you spend too much time in the water!"

The door opened and Quinn stepped out. He smiled when he saw his daughters. "My girls were swimming again?"

"Daddy!" They both spoke at the same time and raced toward him, they knew sanctuary when they saw it.

Quinn laughed when the two girls ran into him, they kissed him several times, making sure to keep away from their moms.

"Dad, Dad! Guess what?" Sara clung to his waist as she looked up at him.

Quinn scratched his chin. "Guess? You have a boyfriend now?"

Sara made a face, "Nope. I found the cutest snake down by the river."

Quinn's face lit up as he caught on to the joke, "really? You should show your mom then."

Sara nodded and reached into her pocket, "look, mom!"

Both Leah and Mojo screeched and leaped from the porch. Sara was dangling a piece of swamp gra.s.s in her hand.

Quinn didn't bother to hide his laughter, the daughter of a dark elf, inexplicably had a wicked sense of humor. He nudged her toward the door. "Better run now hun."

Sara ran into the house before Mojo could say anything further. Sasha looked around and realized that she was the only culprit left for punishment, quickly she ducked behind her dad and followed her sister.

Mojo glared at Quinn. "You spoil our daughters too much."

Leah stood next to her nodding," a bit too much Quinn."

Quinn's smile dropped from his face. "You're right, they are lucky girls. I was on my own when I was their age." Quinn's face suddenly looked sad, as if remembering those times.

"Hey...Quinn, I didn't..." Mojo looked downward, "it's fine, right? They are just having fun."

"Yeah, they are having fun." Leah hugged Quinn, "let's go inside and see Pops."

Quinn held the door for Mojo and Leah as they entered the house. He waited for Ro-Ro who was trailing a few steps behind.

Ro-Ro winked at him, "you are so shameless, Quinn."

Pops was sitting at the kitchen Island drinking brandy that Mike Obreen had poured. Mike and Louise were already permanent Ravenwood residents. Louise had died of cancer ten years earlier, and Mike who had been relatively healthy for a man his age died of a broken heart a few weeks later.

Mike and Louise appeared to be a couple in their thirties. The transfer procedure put you in an avatar that was identical to the way you looked when you died. This gave you and the people you loved time to adapt. Slowly over the course of about five years, your avatar would age backward until it reached the age you wanted to appear.

Tal smiled when she saw him, she took his hand and pulled him toward the island. "What age do you think dad chose as his target?" She was sure the old man had asked Quinn.

"Sixteen I think," Quinn said it with a serious face.

"...." Talia.

Quinn laughed at her face. "Twenty-five."

"What age do you think I should go with when it's time?" Tal leaned closer, kissing his cheek as she whispered.

"You get more beautiful each day I see you, so whatever you like." Quinn left his arm around her waist.

"Quinn...," she said softly as she leaned against him.

Quinn cleared his throat, "but of course if I were forced to pick, I'd go with twenty."

Tal smiled against his neck as she pinched his side. "Rascal."

*Two Weeks Later*

The original 10 Knights of Ravenwood gathered in the courtyard, each checking their gear. Quinn stood patiently between Leah and Tal, as he waited for everyone to finish their last minute checks.

"How many years are you going to make us do this Little Q?" Talia didn't adventure much, even though she had become a legendary sniper in TAP.

Leah nodded, "I've got things to do Quinn, can't we send someone else this year?" Leah had been working with Em to create a distillery. They specialized in peach and apple brandy."

"Yeah little brother, I promised Grandpa a case of brandy by New Years." Crow tried to frown at Quinn, but it slipped and became a smile.

"You know the deal we made with each other, we keep defending our t.i.tle until someone manages to beat us," Quinn checked his Peacemakers.

"Better bring your best then, last year's final lasted all of three minutes." Jinn was the last one to arrive. Her and Ro-Ro still lived in Vegas with Anna, Quinn, and Tal.

"Who's favored to make the final besides us?" Grace barely ever did pvp, but she could be terrifying when she wanted to.

"Gun's and Gore has some high flyers this year." Quinn smiled at Tal, "QJ recently asked me if he could make a Guns and Gore account."

Tal raised an eyebrow, "what did you say Little Q?"

"I said 'ask your mom' of course." Quinn put on his innocent look.

"Isn't that the game Angel started playing?" Tal loved Remmy's adopted daughter, the problem was, she was always in trouble. Her and QJ together were like trouble + even more trouble.

"Yep, sure is." Quinn looked around and started counting heads.

"You think that is a coincidence?" Tal worried that QJ was a bit too much like Quinn.

"No way." Quinn laughed at her worried look. "I'll make him wait two more years okay?"

Talia nodded, "that's if he finishes his Academy ahead of schedule, and if he finishes number one in his cla.s.s."

Quinn finished his headcount and headed toward the portal. He had no doubt both of those things would be done if Talia set those conditions. QJ might look and act like his dad, but his brains came right from his mom. "Alright that's everyone.. Let's clean up the trash."

***** Later that evening in the Exodus Museum of Gaming History*****

A stealthed figure hung upside in the entry, an obvious lookout. She moved deeper into the shadows but not before whistling softly.

A second figure was holding a rope as she carefully lowered her teammate down. She heard a nightingale's soft whistle. "It's still clear Ori."

"Understood." The goggled girl reached carefully through the security lasers that protected the Guns and Gore Artifact. She carefully sprayed the timer that was attached to the gla.s.s. You had to enter the code, or an alarm would go off. Unless of course, you froze the timer. Ori shook her head, Exodus security was so c.r.a.ppy.

A few minutes later six stealthed figures moved quickly through Exodus, by the time alarms went off they had already arrived back at the Songbird. They entered quickly and locked the door behind them.

Nightingale slipped her hood off and walked behind the bar, "I'll pour."

Ren was the last one to slip her hood off, she smiled at Lara. "Seamless as always."

"Yep, great planning Lara." Robin sipped her drink before glancing at Ren. "That's for QJ right?"

The Songbirds visited the Vegas house regularly.

"Give it up Robin, QJ is too young for you." Lark laughed at her friend's antics.

"Who said I like QJ?" Robin downed her drink and motioned for another. "I'm not too old either."

Ren laughed gently. "Yep, his birthday is coming up and he's crazy for all things from Gun's and Gore."

Lara activated the bar hud, "Arena highlights are on, looks like the Knights of Ravenwood advanced again."

"Whoah, 10-0 and 10-0. d.a.m.n." Wren watched Lara's face, "Hey there's Quinn."

Lara stared at Quinn on the screen. "Still the best."

"You should go to him, Lara." Ren smiled at her friend, it was no secret from anyone that Lara had deep feelings for Quinn.

"The man already has three wives." Lara sighed heavily, "I was just too slow."

"I can't speak for Leah or Mojo, but I can say that Mom isn't against it," Ren said gently.

The Songbirds all tweeted in.

"Leah is the one."

"That's right, the path to the commander."

"Leads through the apple orchard."

Authors Note: I would like to thank everyone for reading the additional volume I added onto TAP. I found so many unanswered questions during the editing process that decided another 10 chapters would close it properly. That, of course, turned into 30 chapters. This story is finally completed. The second book in the series is called Exodus: Guns & Gore... It features the next generation of Ravenwood, the MC will be QJ, but there will be a lot of the original characters in cameos. I won't put out any chapters there until I have ten or so ready to go.

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About Exodus: The Assassin's Path 94 A Look Ahead... novel

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