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.
The argument between Kofi and his uncle hadn’t ended well nor had it been concluded and I left the Wakuu’s house feeling unsettled and scared.
What did all of this mean for Kofi and me? No compromise or solution to the situation had been brought to the table and a thousand questions ran through my mind all at once.
Would Kofi do what his uncle had commanded of him? Would he go back to the warriors at Askari to stand trial for his actions? Would he decide to ignore his uncle and carry on to Joro regardless of the consequences? How would we escape without getting caught? But what bothered me most was how I fitted into these plans.
I could continue on to Joro on my own but I knew it would be difficult without Kofi.
He was my soul mate and promises had been made and I believed Kofi to be a man of his word.
The sands had swallowed up my place among the dunes.
I had left the Brissan part of my life behind, managing to avoid major conflict along the way.
I was Zjarrian now and I was determined to fight this situation.
We needed to get to Joro and nothing was going to get in our way.
“I’m not going back,” I blurted out as I guided my camel and Shida back down the hill towards the market.
Shida had decided that riding on my camel was more to her liking and had taken up the reins, sitting on the saddle like a queen.“Neither am I,” Kofi replied seriously, “We will go on.”“Why then did you tell your uncle your story? Why did you meet with him in the first place?”Kofi stopped, reaching out for my hands, “It was better that I spoke to him first.
Our situation would have been far worse if he’d found out about me from someone else.
Not only do most of my mother’s family live in this village but news in Chuma gets around quickly and someone was bound to find out.”“Well, you were very brave to stand up to him like that.
Thank you for defending me too, you didn’t have to,” I added.“I’ve always let big men like him walk all over me.
Well, I’m the big man now and I will not allow those who abuse their leadership powers to stand in my way,” Kofi thundered, “I was just defending my ideas and the lives of those who are important to me and that includes you.”I reached up and kissed him shyly, “Thank you,” I said against his lips, “We’d better watch out or you’ll have a tough time on your hands explaining why you were kissing a half Zjarrian girl with wild hair.”Kofi grinned, shaking his head, “I’m not ashamed of you or what we share, Lela.
I will simply tell anyone who asks that Zjarr brought us together and that I love you.”I was stunned.
Had he really just declared his love for me? I knew we had a good relationship but I had no idea it was this good.
Before I could reply though, Kofi was pulling me down the road.“Come, let’s go and test your Fire with the ladies in the market.”The previous crush of people at the market had thankfully thinned out but this didn’t affect the relentless looks on the sellers’ faces.
Bartering, I learnt, was just another word for trading and yet it was the way the Chumans did it that fascinated me.
“We’re probably going to need warmer clothes.
Do you see anything you like?” Kofi asked as we strolled along looking at each trader’s wares.“A pair of boots for each of us is possibly a good idea,” I stated, looking down at the sandals we were wearing.
They wouldn’t be suitable for the mountain-crossing and judging by the clothes the Joran travellers wore, it was even colder in Joro than it was here in Chuma.Kofi nodded.
“I know a man who’s toes fell off from being exposed to the cold for too long when he was up there.”I grimaced at the very thought.Kofi laughed at my reaction.
“I think these will do nicely,” he said, approaching a woman who was trading the very items we were after.A few different styles of boots were on display.
Some looked as though they just covered the foot, ending at the ankle while others ended mid-calf, just like the ones many of the villagers wore.
Most of the boots, however, were black or brown in colour and they looked as though they would better suit a man’s stride.
I was just about to give up my search settling for one of the more generic pairs when my eyes locked onto a pair of feminine looking boots.
They were red and I decided there and then that I wanted them.
Made for a slender and more narrow foot, they looked like they would lace right up to my knees.
The worked-hide they were made from looked soft but suitable for the journey that lay ahead of us.
“Those ones,” I said, pointing to the boots that matched the colour of my red scarf.“Try them on first and then I’ll see what you’ve got in exchange,” the woman suggested in fluent Gaian.I didn’t need to be asked twice and in a flash, I had taken my worn sandals off.
I slipped the boots on and they fitted me perfectly.
I took a few steps just to be sure but I could tell they would be comfortable.
I smiled up at the woman, satisfied, “I’ll take them and whatever Kofi wants too.”“That’s fine, but what do you have that will equal or add to their value?”I looked at her confused.“What do you have that you can trade them for?” Kofi explained, trying on a pair of black boots.I offered the woman my sandals but she clicked her tongue at me.
“Too old.”I started to take off my wide leather belt but the woman dismissed that too.
“Ugh, I have no need for such things!” she stated, comfortable with her loose kaftan.I wasn’t sure what else I had to offer her and I really wanted those boots.
She then pointed to my eyes, “Do you have some of that black paste you have around your eyes?” I had two glass pots full of the kohl which I used to stop the desert glare from hurting my eyes.
I still applied the black paste every morning out of habit but when I thought about it, I probably wasn’t going to need it and the boots were more important to me.
Besides, I knew how to make more of the paste if I found that I needed it one day.
Turning, I began to rummage around in my saddlebag.
I pulled out one of the little pots, I would save the other one for a later trade and handed it to the woman.She shook the pot, a smile spreading over her wide face, “And for his boots, I’ll have those too,” she demanded, pointing to the glass beads that hung from my kaftan.
The beads were hanging on threads anyway and held no value to me.
Pulling them, off I dropped them into the trader’s outstretched hand.
She smiled again finally satisfied with the trade.“How did I do?” I asked as we walked away.“Not bad,” Kofi said, reaching for my hand.
“Thank you for the boots.”“How do they feel?”“I think I’ll have to get used to wearing closed shoes but they feel great.”“I saw a Joran trader a little way up the road who had heavy, long-sleeved kaftans for trade.
I have a few things left that I could trade with him and I think they will help keep out the cold.” “I’ll meet up with you at the little kava shopu down the road then, I have a few things to get too,” Kofi said.I waved at him, already on my way.
I quickly spotted what I was looking for and approached the red-headed trader.
“Greetings to you friend,” the trader said in a strangely accented Gaian.
“Have you anything in mind?” he asked, looking at me with the usual curiosity.The trader was an old man with dull eyes.
He had a long red beard, bushy eyebrows and a healthy grin.
Unusual for somebody of his age.“I’m looking for a kaftan just like that,” I said, pointing to the dark grey one he wore.
“I’ve never heard of a kaftan but I do have cloaks? The one I’m wearing is more for a man’s build.
Might I suggest this black one, I think it will suit you nicely,” he recommended, holding the cloak out for me.
“Here try it on.”I turned around, putting my arms through the long, wide sleeves.
The old man then pulled it up onto my shoulders, “There, perfect.”I looked down at the warm black fabric that reached down to my ankles, it was perfect.
“This cloak is straight out of the lowlands of Joro,” he commented, grinning at me again.
“Made by my wife’s very own hands.”“I’ll take this cloak and a grey one just like yours.”“Good, what have you got?” he asked, handing me the grey cloak I’d chosen for Kofi.
I emptied a bag filled with glass plates, cups and utensils onto the ground in front of him.
They were useless to me but I was hoping they would prove valuable to him.
The man rummaged through the items, mumbling to himself, “I have never seen anything like it.
Where did you get them?”“They come from the red dunes of Brissa,” I said trying to make these everyday things sound exotic.
“So that’s where you’re from.
You’re a long way from home aren’t you?”“Not as far as you’d think,” I said frankly.
“What are you doing here? Just travelling through?”“My partner and I are here for the celebrations tonight,” I said, choosing my words truthfully but carefully.
He nodded slowly as if trying to figure me out.
“Do we have a deal?” I asked, becoming impatient with this nosey man.“Oh yes, I suppose we do, my dear,” he said, stowing the glass items away.I traded my other pot of kohl for a bag of ground kava and a small sack of elephant fruit on my way down to the kava shopu to meet up with Kofi.
I hid them in one of the saddlebags and planned to surprise Kofi with them on our journey.
I thought it would be nice to take a little bit of Zjarri with us to Joro.
As I got closer to an area where groups of villagers sat drinking from tiny cups, the kava shopu, I presumed, an extremely good looking Zjarrian man called out to me.
I knew no one in Chuma other than Kofi so why was this man waving at me? “Kofi?” I asked, recognizing his smile.
“What, didn’t you recognize me?” he laughed, rubbing his freshly-shaved chin and head.“You do clean up quite nicely!” I smiled, pointing to his new clothes.
Kofi had changed completely in the short time he had been gone.
He was wearing the hide boots that I had given him earlier with ease now.
Tucked into them were well-fitting black trousers.
Allowing my eyes to move up his body, I saw that he was wearing a black, long-sleeved tunic that reached down to his mid-thigh.
To complete his new look he had draped his red scarf casually around his shoulders.
His arm and chest muscles were straining against the black fabric and I slowly nodded my approval, standing there like a dumbstruck idiot.“Come on,” he smiled, grabbing my arm, “This shopu has the best kava and flatbread in all of Zjarri.” We elbowed our way into the tiny space and I realized at once that the shopu was a place where people gathered to drink, eat and relax.
“Find us an empty table and I’ll get us something to eat and drink,” Kofi said.I found a table that was free and lowered myself down onto the low three-legged metal stool.
Kofi joined me within moments of me sitting down, a pot of kava and three cups in his hands.
Three? Maybe he had miscounted but then an old man came up from behind him and placed a plate of flatbread down on the kava-stained wooden surface.
He smiled down at me.
It was a toothless smile but it was Kofi’s smile.
“You must be Lela?” he asked in effortless Gaian.I looked up at Kofi confused.
Who was this man who looked so much like him?“Lela, meet my grandfather.”“Well, this is a surprise,” I grinned back nervously.
It seemed that I wouldn’t have to wait for all of this to be over before I met Kofi’s family after all.
“I believe you are at the wrong border, my boy.
Askari is that way,” Kofi’s grandfather chuckled light-heartedly as he pointed to the south, “but perhaps that’s a story for later? Let me drink some kava first.”Kofi poured his grandfather a cup of the strong, bitter brew and handed it to him carefully.
The old man then sat back and blew gently on the hot liquid before taking a sip.
He grunted in pleasure as he looked around the busy shopu.
Kofi waited until he had finished his drink before starting the conversation again.
“With respect, Babu, you’re the last person I thought I’d see in Chuma,” Kofi said, tearing off a large piece of flatbread.
“You’ve come a long way.
I hope you’re taking it easy?”“Ah yes, your uncle wanted me to come for the twins’ celebration feast.
Don’t worry, I will rest for a bit longer and then I’ll be on my way home,” he replied, holding his cup out while I poured him some more kava.
“How are Mama, Bibi and Jomo?” “Zjarr has blessed us all with good health and yet it’s our hearts that suffer most, we miss you and Ayo very much.
Your Mama’s only desire is to see her boys back home.”Kofi swallow deeply at the mention of his brother’s name.
I reached out for his hand and he caught hold of it.
“One day I will return home,” he said bravely.“But not Ayo,” Babu sighed heavily.Kofi shook his head, a mixture of grief and anger burning in his eyes.
“It’s time that you told me your story then.” Babu and I sat in silence while Kofi told us his story.
I had heard bits and pieces of it during our travels, but I think this was the first time that Kofi had actually told anyone the full story.
Despite it causing him immense pain, he went to great lengths making sure that he didn’t leave a single detail out.
I had been an unconcerned witness to the outcome of the war between the Fire and the Wind but the terror and devastation I had seen was nothing like Kofi’s experience.
He had actually been there that day.
So much had been lost and for what? I feared that the hatred and bitter hostility that our two races shared would go on and on for many more generations to come.
What would the future for our children be like when all they would ever know would be resentment and anger towards each other? The truth was plain and clear.
The defining cause of this struggle was gradually slipping away and would soon be lost to the sand forever.
The desert chiefs and the Askari wakuus would soon be fighting for a dead cause.
Kofi came to the end of his story long after the kava had cooled.
The three of us sat in silence for a long time after that, lost in our thoughts as the bustle of Chuma went past.
Ashamed, I quickly wiped away the tears that were streaming down my face.
I hadn’t been there that day and I had no right to them.
Kofi squeezed my hand and a sense of guilt washed over me.
I should have been the one who was comforting him and I felt terrible.
“I always knew your father was a mean-spirited coward.
I had my suspicions the day he asked for your mother’s hand.
However their union, no matter how unfortunate, created you, Jomo, Ayo and Xola.
I am forever grateful for that reason alone,” Babu commented, looking towards the Moto Mountain.
“All four of you in your own way have brought our family such joy.” he finished, wiping away his own tears.
Kofi reached out for his grandfather’s hand.
The young consoling the old.
“What will you do now?” Babu asked, looking at each of us with cloudy eyes, “I get the feeling your true story is just about to begin?”I nodded, “More than you could ever imagine.”“Just before Ayo passed away, he made me promise that I would leave Zjarri and fight for what is right.
That’s why I left the warriors, Babu, I intend to keep the promise I made to him.
Along the way though I ran into Lela,” Kofi said smiling at me.
“We were both headed in the same direction and we decided to travel together.
Over time Lela told me about a prophesy that her Keepers of Wind had foreseen.”“The Keepers of Fire connected with you when you and Ayo went to the mountain before you left, didn’t they?” Babu interrupted.
“They did, Babu, and the two prophesies are linked.
They are both pointing us towards Joro, so that’s where we are going.”“Joro?” he said, dropping his piece of bread.“Yes, what do you know about it?” I asked, curious to hear any detail about the mysterious land over the mountains.
“All I know is that it’s a land where nothing is as it seems.
Take heed of your surroundings and listen to the Fire within you.”“What do you mean, Babu?” Kofi inquired, taking a sip of cold kava.
The old man waved Kofi’s question away, turning to me instead, “What is the story of this creature?” he asked, pointing to Shida who had sat quietly on my shoulder the whole time.“Kofi took me to the Baobab Forest on our way here.” I said, offering Shida a piece of bread.
She took it gently and began to nibble.
“It was the most wonderful, calming place I have ever been to.
Anyway, after leaving the Forest, there was a huge thunderstorm.
Once it had cleared, we set up camp.
Kofi went off to hunt and I soon dozed off under a tree.
When I woke up, I was greeted by a troop of staring monkeys.
The troop eventually moved on but Shida stayed and she has been with us ever since.” Babu smiled reaching out to scratch Shida behind the ear, “Zjarr has sent her to you as a guide and believe me, everything you have wondered about her is true, except for her name.
She will only bring you loyalty and unconditional friendship,” he added with a twinkle in his eye.
I couldn’t help but turn to Kofi with a look of triumph on my face.He just rolled his eyes in good humour.
“You have come from the dunes?” Babu inquired with an open smile.I nodded, lowering my eyes, not sure where this simple question would lead.
“But you’re not like your father’s people are you? I can sense the Fire within you.
Who was your mother, my child?”“Sadly, I never knew my mother, she died giving birth to me but the Winds often whispered her name to me - Thema Kibibi Iboro.”Babu almost fell off his chair in disbelief.
Luckily, Kofi was there to catch him.
“The daughter of Thema Iboro? It can’t be.
That must mean…” I waited for him to continue but he shook his grey head in silence.
“What is it, Babu?” Kofi asked.“A story for another time, I think but you must continue on your journey.
Everything will be revealed to you in time.
You must stay together though.
You will not get very far if you don’t,” he nodded again.
“Now about your humped companion out there, surely you do not plan to take her over the Kalima Mountains?” he asked, changing the subject rather smoothly.
This old man was sounding more and more like the Keepers with every word he spoke.
I had mulled over my camel all day and wondered what I should do with her.
After looking around the market, I felt there was nothing on offer in Chuma that would equal her value to me and the idea of handing her over to someone I didn’t know, made me sick to my stomach.
The animal and I had been through so much together but I was naive to think she would make it all the way to Joro.
The path - and I use the word lightly - up the mountain was rocky, very steep and uneven and if she fell to her death because of my selfishness, I would never forgive myself.
Thankfully, Kofi’s grandfather came to the rescue and I sighed in relief when he offered to take her back to Khaya with him.
The old man promised me that he would make sure she lived out the remainder of her days at liberty.
She would be free to roam the open plains, free to eat and drink her full, free to do whatever she fancied.
Humans and animals alike deserved to have the chance to be free and I placed her reins in Babu’s old wrinkled hands with a happy heart, knowing that one day I would see her again.The sun had just set when Kofi stood up, easing his tall frame without effort from his low metal stool.
“We’d better go and join the others at the celebration before we’re missed.”I agreed, standing up too.
My tiny cup was empty anyway and I could see the shopu owner was impatient to go home.
Babu had left ahead of us, eager to join his son Yera, the Wakuu of Chuma.
The old man wanted everyone in the village to see his new camel as he arrived at the house so it was just Kofi and I who headed outside, walking up the same road that we had ventured up earlier in the day.
Now that the sun had gone down the road that lead to the large, white house on the hill was lit up by a path of fire-torches.
The man-made light each torch emitted was supposed to shine brightly, showing us the way in the dark.
The torches were having a hard time of it though as the thick mist that had settled down around us was far too dense.
If the days in Chuma were cool the nights were even colder and I was glad to have my new woollen cloak.
I wrapped it tightly around me just as an icy wind tore through us.
Before long, we passed the market and I was surprised by how quiet and empty it was, a stark contrast to the hype of activity I had experienced there that afternoon.
It was now closed for the day, it’s traders at home enjoying their evening meal around a warm fire after a long day of bartering.“Tell me why is the birth of twins so important to the Fire People?” I asked, breaking the silence as we strolled hand in hand.
“Among the Brissan Clan the birth of twins is seen as a bad omen.
My father’s people believe they are a result of a woman lying with an evil spirit.”“It’s the complete opposite for us.
Zjarrians see the birth of twins as a good sign.
The birth of all new born babies are celebrate though.
A new life has been born and we like to honour the new Fire Zjarr has given our families and communities.”I liked the idea of rejoicing the birth of a new life.
The birth of a child is a burden in Brissa and was just another mouth to feed among the thousands already battling to survive.
Kofi continued, “Zjarrians all share Zjarr’s Fire.
A unique portion of it burns deep within us, making us who we are.
Twins are born a little differently though, especially those who share the same features.
They grow together in the womb feeding off the same portion of the Fire.
When they are born, however, the shared Fire divides as the twins leave the womb, resulting in two flames of the same Fire.
One can’t live without the other but this is why they are so special, it’s the Fire they shared that makes them strong.
It’s a bond that can never be broken.
It’s the journey my uncle’s sons will take together and separately that we celebrate tonight.
I like to think of it as the same part of the Fire living twice.”Kofi’s words ran deep with meaning and after considering them, I felt that I understood the significance of the Fire that burned inside me a little better.
It was complicated and I knew I would probably never know the true full wonders of Zjarr, but it was a start.
“There’s also another reason why we celebrate the birth of twins,” Kofi stated, stopping just short of the house.“Oh?” I turned my attention away from the music, singing and loud voices that resonated against the closed door to focus all my attention on Kofi.
“The strength of the seed that makes life is celebrated too.
The gift of any child wouldn’t be possible without abundance and fertility.” Kofi had tried to say this as casually as he possibly could but I sensed a deep longing burning in his dark eyes.
I quickly dropped my gaze feeling a blush rushing up my neck and settling on my cheeks.
I was suddenly grateful for the darkness that surrounded us.
Was it me or had our relationship changed dramatically since we had arrived in Chuma? I was only kidding myself though.
It wasn’t the change of scenery that had brought about such strong emotions in Kofi.
I was no stranger to them, they were bubbling away inside me too.
What I was feeling for the man who had loved me when I couldn’t love myself was real and blazing hot to the touch.
It was choosing the right words to express them properly that was worrying me.
Listen to the Fire - that’s what everybody was telling me.
Finally, I took a deep breath and decided to just listen.
I squeezed Kofi’s hand gently as a way of encouraging myself then focussed on his face, my Brissan eyesight a welcome advantage at that very moment.
I could sense everything that he was feeling just by looking at him.
Next, I reached down for his other hand and placed it on my chest - the spot where my Fire burned.After a few false starts, I finally managed to say what I was feeling deep inside, “I honour your Fire with my own, Kofi.
I praise the light, strength, love, truth, spirit and peace within you because it is also within me.
We share the Fire and we are equal.
We are one.
You have made me see who I truly am and for that I love you with all of my being.”The shyness I had experienced earlier that day had disappeared and I kissed him boldly.
Kofi gently reached down to cup my face in his hands, slowly pushing himself away from me.
Had I been too bold? I knew I hadn’t from the way he looked into my eyes.
He was searching for something - for what I had no idea but he must have found it when a smile crossed his face.
I reached up to him until our lips met again.
Soon our hearts were beating as one and I wanted that moment-in-time to last forever.
Time is a strange thing though and I could feel it slipping through my fingers.
I tore myself away from our kiss, wishing I could hold onto it.“Hold me,” I whispered.Kofi didn’t hesitate, wrapping his arms firmly around me.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he whispered against my hair.