The Wind and Fire is the first book released in the series and tells the story of two Fourborn Guardians, Kofi and Lela and how the prophecy of the waning moon gives them both direction in a world without freedom.
Kofi Magoro is an unlikely hero:
Second son to Gamba and Sade Magoro, Kofi has been called many things. The village boy, the over protective brother, the rebellious son, the hesitant warrior but nothing has suited him more than being the unlikely hero of his own making.
Brother to Ayo, Xola and Jomo, Kofi inherited his need for adventure from no one in his family. This doesn't stop him from pursuing his dreams, even though he has to work through his uncertainty and the lack of direction that frustrates him.
The open, jovial face in the crowd, Kofi makes friends easily and family takes on an important role in his life. An intelligent spiritualist he has strong ties to his homeland of Zjarri and to it's people and will stop at nothing to keep these ideals safe.
The sacred Fire of Zjarr is everything to Kofi. When he finds himself away from his element, Kofi armed with only his belief and inner strength is forced to kindle the Fire that lives within him on his own even if it means insurgency.
A practicing archer and amateur fire lighter, Kofi likes to start his days off early, rising in time to bask in the sun and all her wonders. He is a keen hunter, an elephant fruit addict and makes the ideal companion if you want to stick around for just one more cup of kava.
As his story grows, Kofi assumes the role of leader of the Fourborn Guardians. Armed with a fierce determination and the Fire that burns inside of him, he will always find a way to continue to fight for what is right.
Lela Iboro Asar is an outcast princess:
The creation of a frowned upon love between Hakim Asar and Thema Kibibi Iboro, Lela was born a despised, motherless child. An only child she grew up with the elements of two very different worlds raging on inside of her.
Roaming the red dunes, Lela is taken in by the outcasts of Brissan society, but this doesn't stop her from fighting the link she has with the Wind. Outspoken, hot headed yet sensitive Lela stands against her father's people while her desperate need for acceptance drives her closer and closer towards Zjarr and the Fire.
In her mind being accepted by her mother's people means that she needs to abandon the Wind completely. Lela soon learns that this is not the case when Wind briefly dominates the Fire. Instead she learns that both elements have to live together in order for her to grow.
Witty, kind hearted and determined, Lela loathes camels and early mornings. A girl of impeccable night vision, unruly hair and a peculiar fashion sense using Brissan colourless glass and crystal bracelets - she is at her happiest next to a roaring camp fire out in the open plains of Zjarri, a cup of kava in hand while she shares stories and honey cakes.
Megan Futcher's Mini-Bio:
People and cultures have always fascinated me and I enjoy thumbing through heavy books on anthropology and archaeology. My novels and novellas dive into an unknown world before recorded history and I love asking the 'what if' question while I share online and write the 4 born, a fantasy spin on human evolution and freedom exploring strength and beauty of multiculturalism.
Wind and Fire Synopsis:
In a world where the four elements rule as gods, the Gaias of Wind, Fire, Water and Earth determine the existence and fate of every man and women. Threatening this seemingly perfect world is the Fourborn – a yet to be identified baby born of all four races and the only one who has the power to set mankind free from it's elemental shackles.
Divinely chosen in the pending chaos is a guardian from each race. With the words of an ancient prophesy as their only guide, they must find and protect the Four born at all costs or risk losing everything they hold dear.
If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would have complimented you on your excellent story-telling abilities had you told me you knew of a girl with a pet monkey.
Relationships between people and the wild animals that roam Zjarri are completely unheard of and simply not possible.
The bond that this monkey has formed with Lela goes against the natural order of Zjarri.
The Keepers of Fire teach us that beast and man should live in harmony.
I like to interpret that as practising a respectful, vigilant existence with plenty of space between us.
Zjarrians warriors don’t even have relationships with their bulls like this.
We don’t control the bulls, the Fire does.
We just guide them in the direction of the battle but in the end they fight for Zjarr.
But this was different, I can’t think of a logical reason explaining why this monkey would have taken to Lela in this way.
Lela is half-Zjarrian and has only felt Zjarrian soil under her feet for a couple of days.
Now she has a monkey who has voluntarily latched itself to her shoulder.
It’s insane and if it were even possible, I, a full-blooded Zjarrian, would have befriended a warthog or a hippo by now! “Why does there have to be a logical reason behind Shida’s sudden appearance which, by the way, I don’t think is sudden at all?” Lela asked as the monkey took a piece of fruit gently from her fingers.“What are you saying?”I said, turning to look behind us.“All I’m saying is that Shida joined us after we left the Baobab Forest.
Maybe Zjarr sent her as my animal guide or something.
Wouldn’t it be great if she’s my mother’s spirit?”“It would be,” I admitted.
I had seen far too many strange things recently not to consider what Lela was suggesting, “But monkeys are social troop animals who live under complex hierarchies lead by an alpha female.
Why would Shida leave this familiar group preferring to travel and live with us by choice instead?”Lela shrugged, offering Shida another one of my elephant fruits.I shook my head.
One thing was for sure, Shida didn’t behave like other monkeys who came into contact with human beings.
Unfortunately, over time, monkeys have learnt that humans are a reliable source of food and I will never forget the aggression and destruction I witnessed when a troop of at least twenty monkeys swept through our village.
Not a single scrap of food was left untouched and the brave villagers who tried to stop the destructive troop were left with deep bites and scratches that became infected no matter what dawa or herbs were used.
Monkeys, in my opinion, were pests capable of nothing but trouble and I would not allow myself to see Lela’s new friend as anything but, just yet, even if she truly was an animal guide.
She had some proving to do first.“If you believe Shida is your mother’s spirit then so I do but please listen to my advice for a moment,” I pleaded, stopping to look out over the plains properly this time.
An uneasy feeling had developed in my stomach the night before and it was only getting worse.
Something was out there watching us, of that I was sure.“Go on, I’m listening.” Lela said, oblivious to what was happening around her.
“Thank you,” I replied, having to quickly alter my planned argument and turn it into a normal conversation.
“When I look at Shida, I see a calm, gentle animal that is nothing like the creatures of her kind and it’s truly remarkable how she has taken to you.
But this could all change in an instant.
She’s a wild animal and nothing is going to change that.
All I ask is that you be aware of the risks.
What I have said doesn’t change the fact that she could be an animal guide but I know first-hand what happens when wild animals and humans don’t respect the natural boundary that Zjarr has laid out for us.
My sister, Xola, died when she crossed that boundary.”“I never knew you had a sister.”“You never asked.”“Tell me about her,” Lela said, reaching down for my hand.
I felt I had a connection with my sister right from the day that she was born.
I remember watching her sleeping and feeling a sense of pride and excitement when her tiny hand reached out for my slightly larger one.
Her big brown eyes seemed to fill her whole face and I was fascinated by this new addition to our family.
All my life Ayo had always watched out for me, it was what older siblings in Zjarrian families did and now it was my turn.
I was finally a big brother and I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to show my little sister everything I knew.
I also liked the idea of bossing her around a bit and getting her to do everything I hated! Things, however, didn’t quite work out according to my plan.
It was better than I had imagined.
Xola and I were born three years apart but this age difference didn’t bother us and we were soon inseparable.
She may have been my little sister but she was also my best friend.
We did everything together.
We drank milky kava and ate bowls of honeyed pap together in the mornings, while in the afternoons, we would play games that we made up under the elephant fruit-trees near our home.
During the evenings we would pretend to be asleep but, instead, we would actually tell each other stories of faraway lands and adventures that we wanted to experience together one day.
I may have looked after her but I think it was evident that we walked in each other’s footsteps.
Years later when I was thirteen and she was ten, our roles changed a little.
We were still inseparable but now my little sister was watching out for me.
I remember falling out of a tree once.
I was showing-off to the other children as I tried to reach the highest branches.
I fell from quite a height and landed on a bundle of thorns.
The other children ran away, afraid that they would get into trouble for cheering me on but Xola stayed by my side.
She clicked her tongue at my stupidity and then gently pulled the thorns out of my arms and legs.
I remember her sweet voice as she sang to me just like Mama did.Everything was going well between us when, suddenly my sister started having nightmares.
In them a male lion with a thick, black mane was chasing her through the tall grass.
In her dreams she always managed to out run the lion and return to the village safely.
But this didn’t stop her from waking up in a cold sweat, shaking and clinging to her blankets.
Mama tried everything to soothe her but it was no use, the images were far too real in her mind and she couldn’t shake them off.
My grandmother, upon hearing about these dreams, declared that an evil spirit was going after my sister.
She immediately sent out a hunting party to search for the lion in Xola’s dreams.
They needed to stop the beast before it could reach Khaya.
While they were away, Bibi made Xola drink strong, bitter brews that would supposedly banish the evil spirit.
The hunters returned two days later but they were empty-handed.
They couldn’t find the lion and my sister’s dreams continued, despite the bitter liquids that she drank.
Xola’s dreams went on for two whole moons and every time the lion moved in closer and closer to her.One morning, I woke up to find Xola’s bed was empty.
I got up to look for her, thinking she was probably drinking kava with Bibi as they caught up on the latest village news but I was wrong.
Bibi was sitting on her own that morning.
My grandmother knew what was wrong before I even mentioned it.
She jumped up and screamed until all of my family and the villagers had come out to investigate.
During the panic, a search party was sent out and Ayo and I insisted on going with them.
We needed to find our sister.
We spread out and searched through the tall grass and the open plains until the sun was high in the morning sky.
It was then that the search was called off.
Ayo and I didn’t go back with the others, we stayed out and continued to look for Xola.
I called out her name while choking back tears but the only sound I heard was the sound of the wind in the trees.
My hope was vanishing just as my sister had.
Suddenly, Ayo yelled out to me.
I ran over to the acacia tree he was standing under.
I noticed that the green and yellow beads that my sister had favoured were scattered all over the bare ground even before he could point them out to me.
My heart sank and my eyes searched wildly in disbelief.
These couldn’t be her beads.
Surely there was someone else who liked these particular colours.
I walked behind Ayo as he followed the trail of beads and what looked like blood.
The grass became thicker around us again and then, unexpectedly flattened out as though a heavy animal had sat down on it.
Shortly afterwards Ayo let out a groan of pain and anguish.
He had found my sister.
“Do you think Xola went to the lion willingly? Out of her own free will I mean?” Lela enquired after listening to my story.“My head wants me to think that she was possessed by an evil spirit, she must have been.
Why else would she just walk straight into a lion’s open paws if she hadn’t been? But my heart won’t let me accept this and in the end I don’t know what to think,” I said, raking my hands firmly over my face.
“What is free will anyway? There’s something out there controlling what we do, deciding our fate.
I can feel it.
I’ve been close to death too many times not to believe it.”“You’re right something is controlling us! If we were left to our own devices, perhaps I would have ignored the Keepers, perhaps I would have stayed in Brissa.
But I didn’t, did I? Should someone or something be controlling my actions, my fate, then so be it.
Our paths wouldn’t have crossed otherwise.
Zjarr has a plan for us, all we have to do is listen to the Fire.” she reached out, touching the spot where my heart beats, “Everything happens for a reason, just trust yourself and go with it.”Something had changed in Lela since our time in the Baobab Forest and I couldn’t help but smile.
She was becoming more and more like a Zjarrian everyday.
The selfish, insensitive, rash, quick-tempered girl I had met had disappeared and in her place stood a transformed woman who portrayed inner reflection and deep thought.
A woman who chose to observe the world around her, rather than fight it.
She had taken control of the Fire.
She had found her purpose.
I had fallen in love with the girl who had wandered out of the desert.
Raw and untamed.
But it was the woman who stood before me now with her hands on her hips waiting for my response who was my soul mate.
I would trust myself.
I would give her my heart and I would just run with it.
“Are you proud of who you are? Of who you have become?” I asked, reaching out for her hand, bringing her to a pause.Lela looked into my eyes considering her answer as her fingers laced through mine.
“I am.” she finally said with confidence.I pulled her closer to me while I lowered my head towards hers, stopping when our foreheads touched.
“That’s what I wanted to hear,” I whispered as our lips met in a kiss.
I kissed her gently.
Taking her all in, tasting her, smelling her hair and skin, caressing her.
Lela’s lips were warm and soft under mine and she smelt like honey and the morning dew that clung to the tall grass.
I drew her to my chest as my heart raced, the very nearness of her making me tingle all over with longing.
She let go of my hands and wrapped her arms around my neck, pulling me down towards her, kissing me with passion.
I enfolded her in my arms and could feel her heart beating and in that moment the world around us no longer existed.
It was just Lela and I, two individuals bound together by fate.
Reluctantly, Lela pulled away, needing a breath of air or so I thought but she just sighed instead a content smile on her face.
Lela’s green eyes were watching my reactions, my every emotion.
Our foreheads touched again and I couldn’t stop grinning.
Lela laughed, reaching up to kiss me again.
Suddenly, a sound caught my ear.
Lela heard it too and froze in fear while Shida hissed and screamed in alarm.My instincts were right.
Something had been following us.
It was him.
It was the lion that had killed my sister.
He had been hunting me since her death and the time had come.
He was finally bold enough to face me.
I slowly moved in front of Lela, my arms spread outwards ready to protect her, my footsteps careful in the grass.
I looked around for a means of escape without losing focus on the impending situation.
The sun was setting but I knew there was a swamp not far from where we were at the moment.
The question was whether we would be able to get there in time? All of a sudden the wind changed direction and an acidic odour filled the air.
The lion was marking his territory and it wouldn’t be long before he made his move.
We had to go now! The trouble was the moment we ran so would the lion.
If Lela and I wanted to see the other side of this, we would have to do things slowly.I motioned to Lela to release her camel, the lion would only harm her if she blocked his way.
Next I grabbed Lela’s hand and placed my lips near her ear, “Do exactly as I say.
This is not our time!”Lela nodded, waiting for my next instruction.
I looked Shida in the eye and she stopped her agitated outcry, sensing the enormity of the situation.
I knew then that she wasn’t a normal monkey.
Lela and I slowly turned around and deliberately walked through the tall grass towards the swamp.
If Zjarr was on my side, it would be the right time of year and something that would get us out of danger would be waiting for me in the muddy waters.
I strained my ears but the lion was quiet, a trained stalker.
Not for long though because, suddenly, he let out a mighty roar that ripped through the grass and sent shivers up my spine.
I picked up my pace with Lela right beside me.
We had to get out of the tall grass.
I needed to see what was going on around me and I wouldn’t let this killer pounce on us from behind.
Thankfully, the grass started to thin out a little and I let out a sigh of relief when I saw the swamp right in front of us.
It was filled with bulrushes.
Zjarr was on my side.
Every muscle in my body told me to run at that moment but I kept calm and we walked on.
“I want you to get into the water.
It isn’t very deep.
Make your way slowly through the bulrushes to the clear water on the other side.
Wait for me once you are there,” I instructed Lela, keeping my voice low.
Lela’s eyes were wide with fear but she did as she was told, wading into the muddy water without glancing back.
I kept my eyes on the grass, turning quickly to see how Lela was doing.
She was just passing the bulrushes.
Still keeping my eyes on the grass, I knelt to light a large stick that I had found.
My hands were shaking and my body was wet with sweat.
I felt as though I was in the war again but this time I only had one opponent to fight.
I clicked my nails together praying that they would set the wood alight the first time around.
Zjarr wasn’t going to award me that easily though and the stick only lit on my third attempt.
Just in time though as the lion let out another almighty roar.
This time, I bawled back at him, screaming and yelling into the tall grass.Slowly, the male lion emerged from the grass, an expression of amusement on his face, licking his lips.
He was massive and his huge head and black mane came up to my chest in height.
His eyes were they same colour as the dying grass around us, unblinking as they stared me down.
He continued to move towards me, his every move calculated and controlled, ready to pounce, his muscular paws thumping down on the bare earth.
I swallowed my fear away.
Drawing out my bow I held out my arms away from my body.
I needed to make myself seem larger and fiercer than he was as I prepared to stare him down.
The lion growled at me as he began to pace back and forth, impatient, waiting for my next move.
I lunged at him with the burning fire-stick and my bow.
He roared, clearly not in the mood to be mocked.
Slowly I began to back away into the water.
He followed me in without a moment’s hesitation.
I couldn’t fight him but I had an advantage over him.
He would be weighed down by that heavy mane.
I waded through the swamp easily holding the burning stick above the water.
Upon reaching the bulrushes I was pleased to see that they were dry.
They would catch fire easily, giving me time to escape.
But first I had to get the lion to come closer.
I lunged towards him again and he growled back at me as he swam deeper into the muddy water.
Turning around briefly I set a bulrush alight.
I lit one and, in no time, the rest of the bulrushes had burst into flames.
I looked back and smiled when I saw that the lion was right behind me.
I took a deep breath and dived down under the water.
Not wasting any time I swam between the bulrushes to meet Lela on the other side.
I came up for air just in time to see the flaming bulrushes explode.
The flames shot up high and wide into the twilight sky, carrying the sounds of an injured animal along with them.
“Rest now, Xola,” I said under my breath.
Lela reached out for my hand and we turned to wade our way out of the swamp, where we were met by a group of faces staring back at us - a few Zjarrians who had witnessed the whole thing!“Is the killer dead?” a man among the group asked, his attention on the fire behind me.“I hope so,” I answered back.“Nothing could survive that explosion!” a wide-eyed little boy shouted, pushing his way to the front of the group.
Suddenly, the joyous sound of singing and cheering filled the air.
I felt relieved and proud as Lela and I were ushered into a tiny village where a celebration was held in my honour.
I had killed Xola’s killer and in the process, I had set so many others free.