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.
Soon we had to stop ignoring the reason why we were standing outside the door of the Wakuu’s house.
We were here for a party and I was in the mood to celebrate.
“Ready?” Kofi asked, taking my hand as he pushed the door open.I nodded as the noise coming from inside the house washed over me.
Stepping through the huge doorway, Kofi lead me through the throng of guests as he looked for his grandfather.
It felt as though everyone in Chuma had gravitated up to the house on the hill that night.
I was amazed at how the grand front room I had sat in that afternoon had been transformed.
It was no longer dark, cold or dreary but warm and brightly lit by the two fire pits that ran down the centre of the room.
Richly coloured tapestries depicting images of fires and flames now hung heavily on the whitewashed walls while tanned animals skins of varying shapes and sizes covered the hard dung floor beneath my feet.
The large room felt festive and the smell of freshly brewed kava, roasted meat and packed bodies filled the air.
Looking over the heads of the people around me, I noticed that off, to one side of the room stood an elegantly dressed man and woman.
They were singing a catchy-sounding Zjarrian song while a band of musicians accompanied their smooth voices.
The tongue-twister of clicks which came effortlessly from their mouths caught my attention and even though I couldn’t understand what the song was about, the words sounded familiar.
It was as though I had heard the song somewhere else before.“Ah, there you are Babu!” Kofi exclaimed, having spotted his grandfather sitting at a table near one of the fires.The old man held his tiny cup up to me in greeting, “It’s a great pleasure to see you again my daughter.
Come eat and drink with me.
Warm yourself up by the fire.”I sat down on the metal bench across the way from him, while Shida jumped down from my shoulder.
Babu laughed, scratching the monkey behind her ears.
A moment later, Kofi placed a cup of steaming hot kava in my empty hands.
I looked up to thank him and was shocked to see that his body had changed before my eyes! Kofi was by no means a small man.
He was one of the few men who stood taller than I did and his body was muscular and well-toned from his endless days of warrior training.
But I blinked just to make sure I was seeing correctly.
It was true.
His chest and upper arms were straining heavily against his tunic, his muscles having doubled, no, tripled in size! I reached out to touch one of his arms, just to make sure it was real.
Feeling me squeezing his arm, Kofi smiled, laughing at my disbelief.“What’s happened to you?” I demanded.
He looked at me intently, the Fire burning in his dark eyes.
He was just about to give me an explanation when a loud shout and the sound of a strong fist banging on a table silenced him.
“Well, that’s just rude!” I declared a little too loudly as I looked up to see who or what had interrupted Kofi.It was the Wakuu preparing to give a speech.
With a bad taste lingering in my mouth I couldn’t help wondering what he was doing here.
Our first meeting hadn’t been a pleasant one but this was his house and we were celebrating the birth of his sons so I have no idea why I was surprised to see him.Every head in the room turned towards their Chief out of respect, waiting patiently for him to stop clearing his throat and to proceed.
Even though I couldn’t understand a word of what he said, the Wakuu’s speech was short and to the point just as I had expected.
The guests, nearing the end of his speech were holding their tiny cups up to him and cheering at his last words.
Raising my cup, I noticed that every single person in the room was sober.
It was a nice change to see that people could enjoy themselves without becoming drunk.
Brissan feasts always deteriorated very rapidly and when the men stared drinking palm wine there was nothing that could stop them from causing chaos in and around the tents.
Kofi and I sat talking to Babu after the speech had ended and yet I was finding it hard to concentrate on what was being said.
My attention instead was on a group of several couples who had gathered around the woman from the singing duo.
She was singing a slow song and the couples were dancing along to her passionate words.
I have seen men and women dance before - if you can call the shuffling the Clan does dancing.
Yet it was the way these Zjarrian couples were dancing that left me utterly amazed.
They moved slowly and smoothly together, in time with the music as if they were one person rather than two.
The dance was seductive and downright sensual and I continued to stare longing to join them.“Dance with me,” Kofi whispered into my ear, sending shivers up my spine.
“I can’t,” I said honestly.
“You can walk can’t you?”I nodded dreamily.
“Well then, you can dance,” Kofi said, pulling me to my feet.
Within moments we were standing among the couples, my heart beating wildly in my breast.
“Show me,” I urged, worried about what the other couples would think of me.Kofi draped one of my hands loosely around his neck.
The other he held with one of his hands.
He wrapped his free hand around my waist, pulling me closer towards him.“Follow my lead,” he said as he started moving his hips and feet around to the music.
My moves were clumsy at first and Kofi suggested that I listen to the beat.
The beat of the music as well as the beating of my heart.
I did so and soon my body was moving on it’s own accord, not only in time to the music but in time with Kofi’s body too.
Feeling my confidence growing, Kofi let go of my waist, spinning me slowly out and away from him.
He pulled me back towards him with a surprisingly sharp snap and repeated the same steps over again.
I quickly found myself lost in the rhythm and before I knew it the song was over and we were standing still again.
I felt as if I was floating on air.
I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
My laugh was loud and honest, reflecting exactly how I was feeling on the inside.
Kofi grinned, “And you said you couldn’t dance!”We were just about to return to our seats next to the fire when a strong hand grabbed my arm.
I whirled around in fright coming face-to-face with a Zjarrian woman.
My first instinct was to pull away.
What did she want with me? I looked into her bright friendly eyes and they made me relax instantly.
I quickly realized that there wasn’t a threat here at all and I smiled at her.
“Come sister, there’s much for you to see,” she said in perfect Gaian.
Her voice was rich and it made me feel that she could probably be trusted.
This didn’t help my confusion though and I looked at the woman waiting for her to explain herself.
She didn’t of course.
Zjarrians like to keep things hidden and remain mysterious.“Go, Babu and I will look after Shida,” Kofi said next to me.
I had nearly forgotten he was there and I squeezed his hand.
Hearing this the woman swiftly linked arms with me, pulling me along with her until I was absorbed by the crowd.
“I’m Jojo and you are new in town,” she stated loudly, her large hooped earrings swinging along with her as she walked.
“Tell me, how are you finding your stay in Chuma? Did you enjoy the market today? Good choice on those boots by the way, they really suit you!”“Thank you,” I said, a little taken aback, “I’m Lela.”“Oh, I already know who you are and even what your story is.” Jojo said, flashing me a toothy grin.I was stunned, news really did get around Chuma.“Don’t look so surprised,” she added, flicking her long-braided hair over her shoulder.
“I see it as my unofficial duty to know the comings and goings of everyone in Chuma.”Jojo showed me around the grand room as though it was her own home.
She then took me around to various groups of guests who were talking and laughing amongst themselves.
We stopped often as she commented on the style of a dress or a new necklace and this was when I had the chance to really study her.Jojo was just as tall as I was but that is where the similarities between us ended.
She was at least twice my age and her dark skin was smooth and radiant, not parched like mine and when she smiled it stretched taut over her high cheekbones.
Jojo swayed her wide hips with grace and confidence while her high, firm bust pressed against the fabric of her black and green dress.
Around her wrists sat thick, shiny metal bangles which knocked against each other as she gestured wildly with animated hands.
Jojo had style that had been years in the making and I liked the way she had tied her red Zjarrian cloth simply around her ample waist and wondered how she had secured it with such an attractive knot.
The woman before me was proud, bold and independent.
And yet I could also see her playful outgoing nature as she talked and laughed with me.
She was just as I imagined my mother to be.“Have you eaten yet?” Jojo asked as I blinked back happy tears.“No, not yet, I’ve been having far too much fun to even think about food,” I answered.“Come then, my brother’s house has put on a great feast and there’s so much for you to taste!”Reaching the back of the room, I spotted a long wooden table groaning under the weight of countless metal plates and bowls all filled with food, most of which I couldn’t recognize.
I felt my eyes widen in delight and suddenly my stomach began to grumble, the flatbread I had nibbled on earlier was a distant memory.Seeing the size of my eyes, Jojo chuckled to herself, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what’s on each platter.
I sampled all the dishes before they left the kitchen today and I know which ones are the best.”I wasn’t in the least bit concerned and I couldn't wait to eat.
I followed her cue and picked up a large round plate.
She placed a white, spongy flatbread on the plate first.
“This is a traditional Chuman flatbread and it’s the first thing a mother teaches her daughter how to make.
We use it to soak up sauces and drippings from rich stews and meats,” Jojo explained as I spread the soft spongy bread I had chosen over my platter like she had.I then held the platter up to my nose.
The bread smelt very yeasty and slightly sour.
Next we moved onto two massive pots that were set over a low fire.
“Is it just Kofi, Babu and you who will be eating?” Jojo asked as she reached for a metal ladle.
“Yes.” I said distracted by the amazing aromas.But wait a second, how did she know Kofi’s name? I looked at her with questioning eyes but she just ignored me, ladling a thick stew onto a portion of the bread instead.
“This is goat, sweet potato and bitter green stew.
We cook it for many hours, slowly until the meat falls apart, like this,” she continued, pulling a piece of meat apart with her fingers.
She offered it to me and I popped it into my salivating mouth, sighing at it’s rich, tenderness.“What’s this called?” I asked, already moving onto the next pot.
“Roast guinea fowl and groundnut sauce, a favourite in our family and this is piri piri koko.
It’s hot and spicy and I think you’ll like it.”Lastly we moved onto large platters heaped with roasted meat and I stood still while Jojo piled a huge portion onto my platter.
“There,” she nodded, satisfied with the quantity of food that my plate held.
“I think that’s plenty for the three of you.
You’ll want to save some space for honeycakes and a few cups of kava and I’m talking about real kava and not that bush stuff I’m sure Kofi has been forcing you to drink.”Before I could thank her, Jojo had turned her attention towards a man who had called out to her.“I’ll come along for a chat a little later before you leave,” She smiled, looking over her shoulder.Balancing the heavy platter, I carefully found my way back to the table where Kofi and Babu were still sitting.
“Ah, my daughter you’re spoiling us!” Babu exclaimed as I placed the platter of food down in front of him and Kofi.I settled down just as Shida scurried up onto my shoulder.
I stroked her soft fur, taking the cup of kava that was offered to me.
I sat back to enjoy it while Kofi and Babu ate.
The steaming black liquid did taste different to the kind I was used to drinking with Kofi out on the plains.
I would have to ask Jojo how she prepared it.
Speaking of Jojo.“Who was that woman I just met?”“Who, Jojo?” Kofi asked, scooping up some goat stew with a piece of flatbread.I nodded, ripping off a piece just as I’d seen him do.
I wanted to taste the bread on it’s own without the influence of the other flavours on the plate.
I was surprised but I liked it immediately, it was soft and chewy and not as sour as it had smelt.
I immediately went back for another piece, this time scooping up some of the roast guinea fowl along with it.
The tender flesh was rich, creamy, nutty and slightly sweet.
“Jojo is my mother’s youngest sister.”“Your auntie? I should have guessed.
Well, that makes sense now.
I wondered how she knew your name,” I said grabbing, a koko drumstick next.
The stringy white meat was drenched with a red sauce.
It was hot and spicy just like Jojo had said it would be and slightly acidic too.
Ignoring the burning and numbing sensation on my tongue, I reached for more.
Meanwhile, I had been so focussed on the food I was shoving into my mouth that when I finally looked up, licking my fingers shamelessly, I got the fright of my life.
Seated over the table from me was a hooded figure.
The black hood of his woollen cloak hid his features and his face was masked by a shadow.
I found myself instantly intrigued to find out who he was - how I had missed seeing him was a mystery.
Had he been sitting there the whole time? I looked down and noticed that his hands were casually laced on the table in front of him.
They were as white as camel’s milk and speckled with what looked like grains of red sand.
His fingers were long and bony and yet they were those of a young man and I was having a hard time stopping myself from just reaching out and touching them.
I stared at them amazed instead.
I had never seen skin that was so pure and yet so blemished at the same time.
I blinked as his hands slowly unlaced themselves moving up even more slowly to remove his hood.
Suddenly from the black shadow emerged the face of a man who was not much older than myself.
I took in his shock of curly, red hair and a closely-shaved beard of the same colour.
The man’s jaw was strong and defined, his nose long and sharp and his smile frightfully attractive.
I quickly lowered my eyes, praying that my emotions wouldn’t betray me.
What had I been expecting? A ghost or a daemon under the hood? The stranger was neither of these things though and looked more like an earth spirit than the evil creatures that had haunted my childhood dreams.“I’m Bryn Greenan of Joro,” he stated slowly, his piercing blue eyes finding mine.“I’m Lela,” I frowned, hesitating over my full title.
Lela who of what though? All my life I had just been called by that single unremarkable first name.
Plain Lela that’s who I was.“Bryn’s a trader from over the Kalima Mountains,” Kofi said, interrupting my thoughts, “I’ve told him about our plan and he’s offered to help us cross the mountains safely.” Giving this strange man a once over, I found myself wondering how much of our plan Kofi revealed to him and at what price? “I assure you I’m a seasoned traveller and I know that mountain pass better than I know my own lands,” Bryn declared staunchly, “You will make it to Joro in one piece, I will make sure that you get there safely.”He continued explaining in great detail how I would make it to Joro in one piece with his hands laced causally into front of him once again.
All I was able to do was nod.
His voice was gruff and thickly-accented and I had to listen carefully to his words.“We’ve been discussing what the best time would be for you to leave,” Babu announced in a low tone.“And?” I asked, reaching for the kava pot but Bryn got to it before me.
He filled my cup while still staring at me, stopping just before the warm liquid reached the rim.
This stranger was definitely intense and yet was that a kind friendliness I detected behind his cool stare?“We’re due to set out early tomorrow morning, long before the sun rises and long before anyone in this room has risen from their bed,” Kofi said.
“And your uncle?” I queried.“Will assume that we have gone back to Askari.
We will be long into Joro before he finds out the truth.”“What about Babu?” I asked, concerned about the old man’s wellbeing.“I will play the part of the oblivious old fool if anyone asks me about your whereabouts,” he said, dismissing the potential danger with a wave of his hand.“The plan is sound, nothing will go wrong,” Bryn nodded, still staring.He was a little too sure of himself, even Shida could sense this and his blue stare was starting to disturb me as the kindness I had seen behind it disappeared.
I looked to Kofi for reassurance.
“Everything will be fine.
It’s a good plan,” he agreed, frowning at Shida’s unusual behaviour.
So what if it was a good plan? Kofi and I didn’t know this man.
He looked friendly enough if you put the intense blue stare aside.
However, my heart and mind were demanding that I remain cautious even though Kofi and Babu seemed to trust him.
What if Bryn betrayed us halfway up the mountain pass? What if someone noticed that we had gone but saw that we were headed in the wrong direction? The idea of scrambling up the side of a mountain lead by a dubious guide who could throw us off a ledge at any moment while a million armed warriors chased us didn’t sound like a sound plan to me! I looked at Kofi again, making sure that he could see the uncertainty in my eyes.
I didn’t say a word though.
We didn’t have time for any of this.
We needed to find the Four!“I hope you’re all discussing how good my cooking is,” a voice boomed from behind me.It was Jojo and I smiled as she sat down beside me, grateful for the distraction.“You just need to try one of these,” she grinned, offering Shida a honeycake which she took and quickly gobbled down.“Now tell me something about yourself, sister,” Jojo laughed, turning to me, “and be sure to tell me something I don’t already know!”The celebrations went on long after Kofi, Bryn and I had left the house on the hill.
Luck must have been on our side that night.
Everyone in Chuma was having too much of a good time to take note of a supposed traitor, a fair-skinned wanderer, a monkey and a Blend slipping out the door.
A short while later Babu and Jojo slipped away too and joined us.“I will meet you and Lela at the discussed location,” Bryn said to Kofi, leaving us to say our goodbyes.
“Promise me that we will meet again one day.” Jojo sighed, hugging me tightly, “Our time together has been too short.” “I promise,” I said, unsure of what my future would hold.She let go of me, turning to Kofi, making him promise her the same thing too.
“You will keep your promise, my daughter,” Babu whispered at my side, “The Fire will lead you home in this life or the next.
A new beginning is coming, don’t run from it.
Take hold of the challenges it throws in your path instead and run with it.”I smiled, he really should have been a Keeper.
After a tearful yet fond farewell, Kofi and I stole away into the night keen to prepare for the next part of our adventure.