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.
Kofi? Kofi! Kofi!” Someone called out my name.The voice belonged to a woman but the sound echoed and was very far away.
The darkness around me was thick and made up of many layers.
Semi-conscious, I tried reaching out and grabbing onto the voice but it kept drifting further and further away from me.I was in trouble.
I had to pull myself out of this state.It wasn’t my time!I forced myself to focus on the woman’s voice with all the strength I could muster.
I willed it to come closer and closer until I finally managed to take hold of it.
The voice suddenly lost it’s distortion and I recognized it immediately.
It was Lela!Holding onto the sound of her voice, I tried to pry my eyes open but my lids were heavy and they refused.
I then tried to talk.
I needed to answer her.
I needed to reassure her panicking voice.I’m fine.
I’m all right.
Just keep talking.
But my tongue was thick and dry in my mouth and no sound came out.
Please don’t leave me!“Help me! Help me get him into the tent!” Lela yelled out.
Suddenly, I felt as light as a feather.
I was floating in the clouds high above the open plains of Zjarri.
“Hold on Kofi!” Lela commanded in fluent Zjarrian.
Lela speaking Zjarrian? But how? Lela didn’t speak a word of it.
I shook my head, I didn’t have time for questions now.They were waiting for me.I could see Mama, Babu, Bibi and Jomo resting happily under a shady marula tree.
They were smiling and waving up at me.
Ayo and Xola were there too.
They were beckoning me to come closer.
Encouraging me to come home.Unexpectedly, an incredible warmth flooded my body.
It was the Fire! It was back! Zjarr was with me again!I turned away from my family, resisting their call.
I would see them again one day either in this life or the next.
Instead I focussed all the energy I had on the Fire.
It wasn’t my time! “I’m here Kofi.
Come back to me.
Hold on!” It was Lela’s voice again but this time her command was strong and powerful.All of a sudden I felt her body up against mine.
It was warm and comforting and I reached out, searching for her hands in the fading darkness.
I grasped them and held on tightly as she pulled me back to her.
I forced my eyes to open again but my vision was watery and out of focus.
I closed and opened them a few times until Lela’s face was sharp and clear once more.
I was back! I managed a weak smile and was glad to see the concern slowly fading from Lela’s green eyes.“I could feel you slipping away from me, I’m so glad you’re all right.” I wasn’t all right until I declared it.
My mouth was bone dry though and speech was proving to be a problem.
How I longed for a sip of water but Lela didn’t offer me any so I worked my cheeks and my tongue around my mouth instead until it was moist once more.
Eventually I swallowed deeply.
“I will never let go,” I managed to whisper in my mother tongue.
Lela’s eyes went wide with concern again, “What did you just say?”“I will never let go,” I repeated in Gaian.
“I’m glad, you gave me a terrible scare.”“I scared myself too.
I thought I was lost forever,” I groaned, shifting onto my side.
My head and ears were still pounding.
“Shh, take it easy.”“Where are we?” I asked.
I looked around.
We were definitely inside our little tent lying side-by-side.
It had been propped up again but where was the tent? I then heard the wind howling outside and I was pulled back to the present and I let out a low moan.“We’re still on the Kalima but don’t worry I’m here.”“We can’t stay here, Lela! Something’s wrong with me.
The wind is too powerful.
I’m losing hold of the Fire.”“I know, I know.
I can feel it too but you are too weak to move just yet.”“Can I have some water then?” I asked defeated.
“I’ll get you some soon,” Lela promised, “For now just try to get some sleep.” I woke up sometime later to the sound of voices arguing in the wind.
Lela was no longer beside me and the spot she had occupied earlier was ice cold.“What do you mean it would be better if we stayed here another night? We need to cross the bridge you mentioned and make our descent now while the weather is still in our favour.” I heard Lela saying.The answer she received was a gruff mumble.
“You don’t understand, Bryn! Kofi will die if he doesn’t get away from the wind.”Bryn? My anger and resentment flared at the mention of his name.
I was surprised that he was still here.
Ignoring the protests of pain in my head and ears, I pushed myself up onto my knees.
I then proceeded to crawl out of the tent.
Once outside, I squeezed my eyes shut and sat still waiting for the dizziness and nausea to pass.
The thought of getting to my feet without falling over seemed impossible and yet I forced myself to try.
I looked around for my walking staff, I needed it to steady me if and when I managed to get to my feet.
I spotted it.
It was wrapped up with my runga and bow, but of course, it was out of my reach.
Zjarr wasn’t going to make this easy for me.
I needed to stand up on my own.
I needed to prove that I was tough enough to carry on.
I groaned, frustrated at the pathetic state I was in.
I knew that self-pity would only make matters worse, so I took a deep breath and heaved myself up.
Once on my feet, I paused, waiting for the darkness I knew was sitting below the surface to pounce.
Thankfully, it didn’t and I let out a slow sigh of relief.
I was stronger than the darkness I was battling.
I would overcome it.
I would win this war.
I was determined.
I looked up and was glad to see that the sun was shining in the deep blue sky.
It was bright and intense but the wind was stronger and clouds raced across the face of the sun with great speed.
The sun, as a result, constantly disappeared and reappeared behind white and grey shadows.
I shivered and pulled my hood over my head.
Lela and Bryn were still arguing with one another but they had moved away from the tent.
Away from my ears.
I couldn’t hear what Bryn was saying to Lela but she wasn’t pleased from the way she made angry hand-gestures when she spoke.
Still unsteady on my feet, I watched them for a while until Lela pointed to the spot where last night’s fire had been.
I noticed that most of the pieces of wood I had added to it before I had gone to sleep were still in one piece.
They were also wet as was the ground around them.
Had it rained during the night? I then remembered everything that had happened.
The stifled fire.
The gut-wrenching agony.
Lela’s promises of water that were never fulfilled.Anger flared up inside me again.
What had really happened last night?I made my way over to where they were standing, clearing my throat over the roaring wind, “What happened to the fire last night, Bryn?” I demanded.
Lela whipped around at the sound of my voice, a look of relief and then concern smoothing out the frown which had been between her brows.
She looked tired as she came to my aid.
“What do you mean my friend?” Bryn asked, “Are you accusing me of putting out the fire?”“I’m the one asking the questions here.
All I want from you are the answers and the truth if you think you can manage it,” I spat, clutching Lela tightly.
The darkness was reaching out for me again.
“Why would I put out the fire? I was enjoying it’s warmth as much as you were.
Think about it for a moment.
Do you even realize what you are accusing me of?” Bryn had a strong hold on his emotions, I would give him that but he didn’t know that I could see past his guise.
Suspicion, guilt and arrogance were hiding beneath that cool stare.“Lela is right, we need to carry on,” I stated, deciding to drop the fire situation, I wasn’t strong enough to put up a fight anyway, “I can’t stay here.”Bryn blinked and to my amazement, his mask vanished and a look of sincere concern replaced it.
“Lela has voiced her fears to me and I have given your condition much consideration,” he declared in his usual slow manner, “Here sit down.”He very gently helped me to the ground before continuing, “Nothing has changed, I will get you to Joro in one piece as per our agreement.
I will not abandon you however we need to make a new plan.
In my opinion, there are two options to consider.
We can stay here for the night, giving you the chance to rest up but the wind will not ease, this I can assure you.
Our other option is to push on for as long as you can manage it.
There are still a few hours of daylight left and I believe that we will be able to make it across the bridge and over to the other side before nightfall.
We will not be able to make it down to Joro before the sun sets today, I’m afraid.
The choice you make in the end is ultimately up to you.”It didn’t matter which option I chose, in the end I was going to have to spend another night on this mountain.
I was just going to have to deal with the pain in my head and ears.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Lela as my body began to sway again.
I was just as concerned for her wellbeing as I was for my own.
I wasn’t afraid to admit it, I needed her strong and close at hand if I had any chance of making it through this.
“I’m fine,” she answered bravely, “I’m not going anywhere.
We’ll get through this together.”I nodded, looking at Bryn once more.
“Let’s leave as soon as we possibly can then.
As we pushed on towards the bridge I was past realizing that nothing on the Kalima Mountains had been made to be simple.
These enormous, treacherous mountains had been placed here as a test and I now understood the looks of madness and sympathy that I had received when I had explained my plan to climb and cross it.
There was a reason why my people never ventured up here, a reason why they were content to let the Joran traders come to them instead.
I was used to being grounded to the open plains of my home.
I felt safe and balanced there with the solid, dry, grassy earth beneath my bare feet.
Up here on the Kalima Mountains there was just grey rock for as far as I could see and it proved to be smooth and dangerously slippery beneath my covered feet.
I was being tested and all I could do was push my pain and exhaustion aside to conquer it.
All I had to do was think and step with purpose and care and I would save myself from being thrown onto rocks that were so sharp and jagged they would tear me apart.
I even managed to push aside the fact that we didn’t have any water and that Bryn had used it to put out the fire.
These things were immaterial if I compared them with my greatest challenge - the wind.
To Bryn the wind up here was just wind - a fact of being so high up in the mountains.
It was neither a weakness nor an advantage to him.
It didn’t seem to bother him and he strolled through it with ease.The wind for my people on the other hand, was a defining weakness.
The wind was here on purpose.
It was meant to drive us insane.
It was meant to drive us back in order to keep us out of Joro.
And yet what lay on the other side - what lay in Joro was too important for me to give up and turn back now.
It took all the strength I had left to concentrate on the Fire within me and to concentrate on Lela’s voice guiding me forward but I had Shida to thank.
I know she was the one who helped me to the bridge, the one who saved me from madness.
The strange animal had been by my side since I’d woken up that morning.
Lela had been near me the whole time so I didn’t think anything of it at first until Shida jumped up onto my shoulder and remained there.
She sat stroking my head, screeching and scratching at Bryn and Lela whenever they came near me.
Shida’s behaviour was very out of character, she had never sat on my shoulder before and she normally never left Lela’s side.
I wasn’t bothered about questioning her actions though, all I could think about was the pending hike to the bridge and I soon forgot about the slight weight on my shoulder.As we stared walking I felt Shida suddenly shift positions.
I thought she was going to go back to Lela but I was surprised when she reached up and placed her tiny hand up against my temple instead.
Her touch was gentle, soothing and somehow healing.
The strong wind was still cutting right through me but the pain in my head and ears slowly went away.
Astonished, l looked over at the monkey.
Shida looked back at me with a knowing look in her shiny black eyes.“Asanti, Shida,” I whispered, thanking her.
I didn’t care, at that moment if Shida was an animal guide or a human spirit living in an animal.
I didn’t even care whether she could actually just be a simple monkey.
All I knew was that she was here to protect me, making sure that I would get through this.“What do your people call the bridge we are about to cross?” I asked, trying to speak over the wind.
The pain in my head and ears had at last subsided, thanks to Shida, and I finally managed to look around.
The landscape hadn’t changed.
It still consisted of grey rock but the weather had changed.
The sun had completely disappeared behind angry, grey clouds and as we hiked further and further across the mountain range the mist became more dense.
It settled over and around us like a piece of hazy pale white cloth and at one point it hung so thickly and heavily in front of me, it obscured my vision all together.
“My people have always called the bridge Tullimar Bray,” Bryn said over his shoulder.
“Now please stay where you are for a moment.
I need to make sure we’re in the right place.”Bryn’s request was pleasant and courteous enough and I stopped in my tracks.
How long his friendly demeanour would last though was a question only Bryn knew the answer.
I was genuinely intrigued as Bryn disappeared in and out of the mist as he searched around for something.
A man-made marker or a rock that looked out of place perhaps? Some ancient Joran sign telling us where the bridge was situated?“Why do you call it that? What does it mean?” Lela asked beside me.“We call it Tullimar Bray or the Invisible Bridge because you can’t see it until you’re right on top of it.” Bryn said, slowly edging closer and closer towards something.“What’s he talking about?” I looked at Lela.She shrugged and we edged forward together very slowly just as Bryn had done.“Take care my friends,” Bryn called out, “You can’t see it yet but you are standing right on the edge of a cliff.
One carefree step and you will be but a distant memory.”The mist in front of me cleared and the cliff that Bryn had been talking about slowly came into view.The drop in front of us was sharp and sheer and completely vertical.
Lela let out a gasp, searching for my hand while Shida suddenly tightened her grip around my neck.
I peered over the edge and I swallowed with difficultly, I couldn’t see the bottom.
I saw that as a bad omen.
The fall would be endless if I was unfortunate enough to experience it.“The bridge is just over here, follow me,” Bryn called out making his way over to two thick wooden poles that protruded from the rock.
When neither Lela or I moved, our guide stopped, a look of comical concern on his pale face, “Now is the time to cast any fears you may have aside.
We need to make this crossing before nightfall.
The wind for some reason, doesn’t blow on the other side,” he announced looking straight at me.It was all the motivation I needed and I grabbed hold of Lela’s hand pulling her towards the bridge just as Bryn disappeared into the mist.
The mist was still too thick for me to see exactly where the bridge began and all I could do was hold onto the wooden poles for guidance as I stepped forward.
My feet immediately found their footing on something that wasn’t fresh air and I looked down to see worn slats of dark wood beneath them.
The slats were joined together with long lengths of frayed rope.“You go first,” Lela urged, her eyes wide with fear.
I nodded, grabbing hold of the rope that was on either side of me, “Just follow my exact footsteps.
Concentrate on what’s ahead of you and don’t look down.” I soon found out that we would have no choice but to look down.
The bridge was ancient and in disrepair and I edged slowly forward, deliberately making sure that I stepped over the splintered slats and the large gaps where they were missing altogether.
My heart was racing in my chest and I glanced back quickly to check on Lela.
“I’m fine,” she said through clenched teeth.We made it within a few steps to what I presumed was the middle of the bridge.
The wind had dropped to a strong breeze out here in the open, causing the wooden-roped structure to sway gently back and forth.
I took a deep breath and strode on through mist so thick that it made me feel as it I was floating in the sky.“Well done, my friends, you have made it safely across Tullimar Bray,” Bryn smiled, holding his hand out to me.
I took it sceptically, I still had no idea when his mood would change, “Now you can enjoy your reward.”I smiled, turning to help Lela as Shida jumped down from my shoulder - her healing ability was no longer needed.
The wind had stopped blowing altogether just like Bryn had said it would.
With Lela safe and sound, I looked around and saw that the wind had been replaced by a strange white substance.
It had settled on all the rocks around us.
I crouched down to pick some up and was surprised to find that it was cold and wet.
I looked up at Bryn, “I have never felt something as cold as this before.
What is this?”“We call it snow.
It forms when frozen water crystals fall from the clouds.
I’ve only ever seen it on this side of the Kalima Mountains though.
It has not fallen in Joro since my mother’s birth.
My home doesn’t get that cold anymore.
I have, however heard rumours.
Some say that the mountains and lands of Wai get so cold that they are covered in snow for most of the year.” I nodded, watching the snow in my hand slowly melt back to water.
I shivered, hoping I would never have to experience such harshness.
I set my mind on a cup or two of kava instead and set about making a fire with the little wood I had fortunately saved.
Our second night on the Kalima Mountains was a far better experience than our first one had been.
It was colder but I didn’t complain, the wind had stopped and that was all that mattered.
I melted large handfuls of snow and before long I had a cup of steaming hot kava in my hands.
After a few sips, I could feel my strength coming back and not long after that I felt like myself again.
The Fire was burning intensely and fiercely inside me once more.
Bryn joined us around the fire and soon Lela and I were laughing as he told us humorous tales about his homeland.
Bryn’s good mood had remained with him and I actually began to enjoy his company.
He didn’t touch any of the food and drink on offer though and I found myself wondering, who was he really.
I didn’t have time to enquire any further into his identity though as Bryn excused himself just as the embers of the fire died down.“It’s been a long day and I believe some rest is in order.
Good night to you both,” he bowed.I watched as he disappeared behind a rock.
Strange indeed.“Would you like another elephant fruit?” Lela asked, drawing my attention away from Bryn.“I think I’ve had my full for today.
We still have a long journey ahead of us and I’d like to save them for when we’ll really be needing them.”Lela nodded and settled back against my chest.
She drew her legs up and sighed.
Looking up I saw that the mist had cleared and a full moon now shone brightly in a starlit sky.
“One more moon to go,” I said casually.
Lela suddenly tensed in my arms and I immediately wished I hadn’t mentioned the moon, “Trust me, we’ll make it in time.
We will beat the Darkness.”“How can you be so sure?”“Tomorrow we will be in Joro and from there on everything will fall into place.”Lela settled down again as content as she was going to be with my answer.Go to Joro.
Find the Four before the Darkness.
That was the prophesy.
It was that simple.
Lela and I however, had dug deeper and this journey had been anything but simple and I had the feeling the worst was yet to come.