A woody smoke filled the small tavern's noisy air, as the warming fireplace heated the merry atmosphere. The sweaty, bald, barkeep wiped the counter and watched the four men sitting across the room. His well rounded middle was constricted due to his dirty apron.
The four men were the only visitors, mainly for the fact that it was well past one in the morn. They sat in the far left hand corner, laughing and drinking ale, their good moods kept the barkeep happy. This was better than the usual fighting that occurred at these times of night or early morning.
One man, dressed in a black cloak, brown linens, and deerskin moccasins, raised his tankard to his smiling lips. There was very little hair on this man's cheeks and chin, this hinted he was still young or kept himself very tidy. Another man, sitting to the younger man's right, was leaned back at ease.
In the dim light, one could see very little of this man, he seemed to be in a neutral mood to the others. His black cloak was wrapped around his sleek, muscular figure, with the hood drawn over his hidden face. Then sitting by him, was a smiling, red haired man. His chin and upper lip, was covered in a ginger colored beard.
Instead of the usual black cloak, that the three others bore, this man was dressed in light brown leather armour. Curly hair, the same shade as his beard, crowned his rounded head. Huge biceps were very prominent, it was obvious this man was a warrior, and a war hammer was strapped to his back.
The barkeep turned his attention onto the last man who had his back to him. Flat, brown hair was the only thing he could really see. The man never turned to look at him, nor did he order another drink, so seeing his face was impossible. Their loud roars of laughter and merriment, stopped as they began their topic.
Still chuckling, the red haired warrior looked at the younger lad and said in a deep voice. "I can't believe you didn't run after seeing the beast bear down on us."
The man laughed and replied back in a soft tone, "I don't run in the face of danger… we have just met and you already have me pegged as a coward."
"You do not look like the fighting type," The man with his back against the barkeep stated in a firm voice.
Finished with his drink, the hooded figure pushed his tankard away and commented, "Oh if he was a coward… he wouldn't be a mage."
His silky tone sounded mystical and enchanting. "A mage he may be, but I still prefer the ability to knock down an opponent with my own brute force." The warrior countered.
Chuckling the young man said, "Please Arctavious, you must see that, at times, your favorite tactic will not work."
The three cloaked men exchanged glances and returned their gaze back to their sneering friend. "Oh is that so?"
"You saw how it failed today… you needed my magic to save your hide!!!" The magi retorted in anger.
At this outbreak, the hooded man raised his hand and spoke, "We all have different abilities… so we all need each other."
"This spellcaster feels his abilities surpass us all," Arctavious spat in disgust.
With his hands in his lap, the man with brown hair replied, "That is not true and you know it… he was simply stating that you need to see that other tactics work as well as yours."
The Barkeep's attention was focused on cleaning his mugs, but he still listened intently to the men. "You are right Harmon… I am sorry for disrupting your celebration over this small trifle." Arctavious sadly bowed his head.
Laughter came from the brown haired man, known as Harmon, and he clasped a friendly hand around the warriors shoulder. "Do not fret my friend… after all, my boy was just born!!!"
The four raised their mugs in toast and drank in a congratulatory manner. Arctavious turned his head back to the young magi, "Sen… thank you for saving my life."
With that, he threw his closed fist over his heart and bowed his head at the mage. Sen did the same, in return, and chuckled at the hooded man, "Yersof your stealth was very much needed… I swear you must be part elf to move so quietly."
"I assure you I am not from elf descent… they are very noble, and I could only dream of moving like they do."
It seemed Harmon was going to explode with news, so he finally spat out in an excited tone, "The reason for the dragon's blood tonight… was because my boy has taken the blood exchange at birth. He is one of us now; joined at birth!"
Three loud cheers erupted and were followed by happy pats on the back, as well as some cheerful dialogue. Instantly the barkeep stopped cleaning and froze in horror. These men were the most fearful warriors in all the land… they were the four dragonslayers of lore.
Quickly, to avoid suspicion, he returned to his cleaning. "My god I am having a good night… this lad will be a great predecessor to his father!" Arctavious boomed.
"Yes he will; this is the first to join the four at birth since… he is the very first!!" Harmon proudly announced.
Thunder boomed outside, as this was said and the wind howled loudly. The men paid no attention though; they were too busy enjoying their ale to notice the looming shadow of forewarning. The barkeep felt it though… and he knew that it had something to do with this newborn's future.