Sparta’s Epic Pursuits – Chapter 5 – The Birthday

After the gathering to announce Manty and Zenda's ascension, the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months and the months. The Temple of Manty and Zenda grows as Halfling’s across Almebezbik begin to follow their new god and goddess.

The village of Tangleton grows as well, its population grows as Halflings and kobolds alike settle into the relative peace and security that the village offers beneath the eaves of the forest.

The clan hold, Sparta’s villa and the Halfling Temple are completed with the aid of Dale’s magic. She sets to work on the ancient road to Troll’s Bridge. First she moves the trees back, creating a wide avenue.  The younger trees she leaves outlining the road. Older, more dangerous trees she moves deep into the forest and gathers together in dark groves that attract giant spiders and other unsavory denizens of the wild. Down the avenue she raises two long berms of firmly packed earth that become the new road bed, wide enough for two caravans to pass side by side. Finally, she paves each lane of the road by extending the stone foundations from the Mount of Walls south atop the road beds, eight feet wide and several inches thick to support the largest wains, whether be pulled by horse, oxen or elephant. She raises a curb along the road, crenellated to protect travelers from bandits and brigands.

Sparta leads patrols of rangers and Halfling slingers. The slingers march up and down the avenue while the rangers move silently among the trees. It doesn’t take long before the forest’s inhabitants learn to give the forest a wide berth.

Finally, the calendar nears the end of Pentatina, 1002. All the villagers of Tangleton take up the task of preparing for the celebration. Orders go out far and wide for tents, food, party favors and gifts. Runners are sent to summon the heroes of Redemption who haven’t settled in Tangleton. Once again the Mantyson’s clan streams into Tangleton filling the clanhold and camping in the tents.

At last the big day arrives, Hexatina 23rd, 1002 PC, Sparta’s 33rd birthday. Today Sparta is no longer an impetuous youth, but can join the ranks of the adults in the clan. Long have they welcomed aid and sought his advice. Now he can officially join elders in planning the future of the clan.

All day, the Halflings cooked. As dusk began to settle over the valley, the clansmen gathered in the biggest tent erected upon the hilltop over the clan hold. The food was ample for the assembled clan and the beer and ale flowed freely. At last, with bellies full and thirst slaked, at least temporarily, Sparta climbs atop the head table and calls out to his gathered kin.

“Hello my friends and neighbors, Heroes and cousins, my mother Kimberly and my sister Algoma and most especially my dearest friend and companion Dale. Thank you for coming to my 33rd birthday. I’m afraid I don’t know half of you half as well as you deserve. But don’t worry, the deserts and gifts are still to come and there is plenty of ale for all to drink.” The assembled crowd breaks out in nervous applause, hoping Sparta doesn’t keep them from their celebrations too long nor take after the infamous Mr. Baggins.

Sparta waits until most of the applause subsides before continuing, “Today is a special day not just for my birthday, but also for this…” Suddenly, Sparta kneels before Dale and clasps her hands in his. "Dale, you've been my friend and companion since we were knee high to grasshoppers, running through the fields between our farms back in Rebelton. You've helped me grow Tangleton and protect it from all the evil that has beset the empire. Now it's time to pledge our union before the gods and all our kin. Will you be my wife and the mother of our children?"

In a sudden flashback, Dale remembers a dream she had more than three years ago where Sparta had first recited his proposal to her nearly word for word. Just as in her dream, tears of joy stream down her face as she struggles to reply; at last she gasps a “Yes” as cheers erupt from the crowd. Dale leaps astride the table next to Sparta and embraces him as they kiss long and passionately. Fey erupt from the forest to join the celebration. Nyza looses a magical spectacle of fireworks that brighten the night sky. Some of the party goers claim they saw Manty and Zenda blessing the happy couple.

The party goes all through the night until the rising suns start to brighten the sky to Zuoclades. At last the fey fade back into the forest, those of the partiers who are sober enough and awake enough stagger back to their beds, though many just find an empty patch of deep grass and curl up each with their own sweetie beneath the party tent.

The Halflings sleep late into the day, but as they awake and make their way down into the dining hall of the clan hold, all the talk is of the betrothal between Sparta and Dale.

With all the family in town, the happy couple decides to pledge their vows as soon as possible. They visit the Halfling temple. The priests there are still groggy from partying the night before but are happy to talk to Sparta and Dale about the wedding. Together they make plans to hold the wedding the very next day.

Anxiously Dale and Sparta wait for the hours to pass. Dale makes plans for her wedding dress while Sparta searches through his wardrobe for his best suit. They only have hours, but with many hands, Dale’s dress quickly comes together. That night the clan gathers together again to celebrate the coming nuptials, though this night, most everyone finds their way back to their own bed well before dawn breaks across the sky.

At last the big day comes faster than Dale ever imagined. The Halflings and their friends gather at the Halfling Temple where the priests prepare to administer the vows. Zenda appears before the crowd to give away the bride and Manty appears next to Sparta to stand as his best man. As Sparta and Dale recite their vows, Manty and Zenda clasp their hands and bless their union before returning to their heavenly home.

For the third night in a row, the clansmen party, though tonight Sparta and Dale retire early from the party back to their new villa to consummate their marriage. Dale wakes early the next morning, lying besides Sparta, a smile spreads across her face as she feels a new life stirring within her. “Sparta”, she calls gently to wake her groom, “Sparta, rise my love, you’re going to be a father.” Dale crosses her hands across her belly which will soon swell to contain little Manty.