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.
I’m telling you Kofi, I’m ready to take on a buffalo today.” My little brother, Jomo, announced as he threw a spear into the packed grass, missing the target completely.He was a skinny, slight boy of ten years who barely came up to my chest in height.
He was brave even though a restless spirit still ruled his thoughts and actions.
I was the same at his age and I knew the Fire that raged on inside of him would soon settle down.“So tell me, what you will do when the buffalo decides to turn around and chase you? His horns will be the last thing you’ll have to worry about.
Buffaloes are a lot faster than their massive size suggests and you’ll probably be trampled to death before you can even turn to run away.” Jomo’s brown eyes grew large at my words.I laughed, “Take it one step at a time, Jomo.
The day will come when you’re a big man and then you can be the one to decide if it’s still a good idea to take on a beast like that with just a metal spear.
Until that day comes, we will continue to seek out small gazelle as our targets.”I was sitting on a low, metal stool outside the hut we shared, enjoying the shade of the marula tree above me.
The breeze swirled around me, keeping the searing heat of the late afternoon sun at bay and I closed my eyes as Jomo contemplated my words.“But Kofi…” he protested as he always did.“I don’t want to hear it, Jomo.
What would I tell Mama if you are trampled to death? She’ll skin me alive if I fail to look after you.
Come now, fill your drinking horn, I want to get going.
The gazelle are starting to settle down in the tall grass to rest.”Standing up, I leant against my staff while I waited for Jomo when I heard the sound of a commotion coming from the other side of the village.
I couldn’t make out if the sound was that of joy or that of a possible threat from this distance.
I told Jomo to stay where he was as I left to investigate.
Getting closer, I discovered the noise wasn’t a threat but actually cheering and singing.
Someone important had come home.
Over the heads of the crowd, stood a group of warriors who had returned from Askari.
I looked among their cheerful faces searching for anyone I knew when I spotted my older brother’s face.
Our eyes met above the crowd and he smiled as he pushed his way through the people, eager to greet me.“Kofi, my brother, it’s good to see you!” Ayo exclaimed, grasping my forearm in greeting.“Too many moons have come and gone! It’s good to see you too!” I grinned, noticing that our eyes were level for the first time.
I must have grown since the last time we’d seen each other and I felt pleased to finally stand as his equal.
“Come, Mama, Bibi and Babu will be getting back from their walk any time now and they will be pleased to see you.”Pleased to see Ayo they were! I could see the obvious pride that shone in each of their eyes when they embraced my brother.
I had thought seriously about what my grandfather had said to me for the past few days, about taking the opportunity while I still could.
Regrettably I wasn’t any closer to making my decision.
Looking at how my family treated Ayo made me feel a little jealous of what a success he was in their eyes.
He was a Zjarrian warrior who protected our land against the enemy.
What wasn’t there to be proud of? He’d taken the opportunity and had chosen the path that was right for him and I was glad for the happiness I saw in his open face.
We all gathered around the fire that night and ate dinner together, celebrating my brother’s return.
Babu slaughtered a goat and we enjoyed the roasted meat, along with millet pap and stewed greens.
I brewed a fresh pot of kava, leaving the honey out this time and we all drank a cup, toasting Ayo’s safe return.“Is there any news from Askari my son?” Mama asked, referring not to the warrior’s camp nor to the situation there but to my father.“Baba has been made Wakuu of the warriors.
He is sorry that he couldn’t be here, but he sends his greetings to everyone,” Ayo replied, licking his fingers clean of goat drippings.My beautiful mother gave a weak smile.
I was sick of my father hurting her like this.
She missed him terribly and he only ever thought about himself.
I’d never got on with my emotionally distant father but that gave him no excuse.
He was the leader of the warriors now and he could do anything he liked.
Why didn’t he come home with Ayo to spend some time with his family?“How is the oasis faring?” Bibi asked, squeezing my mother’s arm gently.Ayo turned to look directly at our grandmother.
She was a little hard of hearing and needed to see our words as they were spoken.
“The river is full and running strong, Bibi, and this has given the oasis time to grow and recover.
But, as we know, this won’t last long.
Those desert savages will be back anytime now and the abuse will start all over again as they strip the land bare of Zjarr’s gifts.” Tears filled Bibi’s eyes as she shook her head in disgust.My people, by choice, choose to live in unity with the animals and the land of Zjarri.
It’s a fragile yet ordered balance and we go to great lengths to protect and maintain it.
We believe Zjarr, our Fire Mother, created this order and we respect it.
We only take what we need in order to live well, leaving the rest to thrive as we do.
It’s a delicate system but, if achieved, it allows the land, the animals and our people to live together in peace.
Scattered among the dunes and desert of Brissa lie three oases that were created as havens teeming with life by Briss the Wind Gaia.
The Clan of Brissa travel between these oases in search of food and water in their desolate homeland.
This way of life has been passed down for generations and we respect it.
The desert savages, as Ayo calls them, have their own ideas about balance though.
Upon arriving at one of the three oases, the Clan proceeds to strip the land bare of every last source of life.
Left in their wake is a once lush place now dry, barren and lifeless.
Moving onto the next oasis, this savage cycle continues as does the damage together with their unconcerned natures.
My people are not in the least bit concerned about the oases in Brissa.
However it’s the one oasis we share with the Clan that is of a constant concern to us.
Protecting the oasis has become a priority for the warriors at Askari.
Over the years our elders and the Wakuus have tried to reason with the Chiefs of Brissa.
We have struggled to make them understand why this precious resource needs to be protected.
They refuse to listen though and so our warriors are needed to intervene.
It’s a clash between two vastly different races and their ideas and customs.Every few moons the wind in Brissa changes and to make matters worse, this causes the desert sands to creep further and further into Zjarri.
Over the past few years this slow creeping has turned into a full-blown land take over.
The Clan comes with the sand and, over time, they have moved along with it into our land.
These savages ignore the borderlines and refuse to respect our claims to it.
The warriors at Askari have a constant battle on their hands.
It’s an on-going cause and I know Ayo is proud of what he is achieving out there.
“They’re a rough, drunken bunch of savages with no respect for who we are and what we stand for,” Ayo continued.
“They don’t care what happens as long as they survive.
Baba tells me that they come earlier and earlier each time and that they’re staying longer too.”“Do you know what the problem is with these people?” Bibi asked, softly.
“The present is the only thing they think about.
They’re selfish not to think about tomorrow and what it may or may not bring.”We all nodded, agreeing with her wise words.Shortly after our conversation ended, my mother, Jomo and the old folk went to bed.
Ayo and I stayed up and continued to sit around the fire.“Will you come with me to the Moto Mountain tomorrow?” Ayo asked over the flames.
“I want to give an offering to Zjarr.” “Of course I will Brother,” I said, excited to be taking a trip with him, even though it would be a short one.
The Moto Mountain was a full day’s journey from Khaya and Ayo and I were up early the next morning.
We filled our drinking horns and packed a hide bag with elephant fruit and flatbread.
I added a small sack of fragrant ground kava beans and a pot for brewing it in later.
Then we set off down the well-used path towards the mountain, just as the sun rose.I matched my brother’s long strides as I walked next to him.
His body was lean and well-toned from all the time he had spent in warrior training but my own body was just as strong and I kept up easily with him.
Along the way Ayo started to whistle a tune and I was soon lost in my thoughts.
A long time must have passed when Ayo’s voice pulled me back into the present.
“Are you going to tell me what’s on your mind? You’re my brother and I know you, Kofi, and you’re never this quiet.”“It’s nothing,” I answered as I spotted a sounders of warthog trotting over the path in front of us.“So it has to be a girl then?” Ayo prodded.“There’s no time for girls in my life, Brother.
It’s too complicated as it is.”“So tell me then,” Ayo said, offering me an elephant fruit.Biting into the fruit I asked him.
“Are you happy with the path you have chosen?” “You mean choosing to live my life in Askari as a warrior?”I nodded.“Ah, Babu has been filling your head with suggestions, hasn’t he?” Ayo asked, tossing a fruit-stone aside.“He wants me to join the Keepers and dedicate my life to Zjarr.”“And is this what you want?” he asked, resting his staff over his right shoulder.“That’s what’s bothering me.
I don’t know.
All I know is that I want an adventure.
I want to see what’s out there.”“And this adventure you speak of, will it make you happy?”“Honestly, I’m not sure but I know that at this moment it’s all my heart wants!”“Well then, I think you should do what your heart wants, Brother.
It’s your life so take the opportunity while you can.” he said, patting me on the back.
“All the same if you want a bit of action in the meantime, there’s plenty of it at the border.
At best it will provide you with a change of scenery and it may give you the chance to think about what you really want.
All I’m saying is that it may be good for you to get away from the old folk and their regrets for a while and see something new.”“What about Baba?” I asked, worried about the relationship I had with my father.“I don’t see him often and he’s too busy being Wakuu to notice me.
I’m just another warrior to him.
At the end of the day that suits me.
He keeps to himself and I get on with my duties.” I nodded.
Ayo had the same type of relationship with our father as I did so he understood my concern.We walked in silence for a while when Ayo spoke again.
“So Jomo told me last night that you don’t think he’s man enough to take on a buffalo?”I laughed, grateful for the change in subject.
“He’s going to get himself killed one day! He’s too brave for his own good.”Ayo chuckled along with me.
“Bravery is a good thing, without it we wouldn’t be Zjarri.
The Fire that burns inside all of us wouldn’t exist without some sort of courage.”We reached the foot of the Moto Mountain late that afternoon.“Should we make camp and visit the mountain tomorrow?” Ayo asked.“Good idea, what about taking a walk to see if we can catch some dinner?”“Some meat is definitely what I need after such a long walk,” he agreed.In my opinion, the perfect time of day to hunt was late in the afternoon when the sun was just about to set.
Not only was it cooler but the animals chose this time to settle down for the evening and some of them came out to feed.
This made for an easy catch.
Ayo and I, with our route decided, walked quietly off the well-used path and disappeared into the tall grass.
Ayo’s spear was ready to strike at a moment’s notice while I held my panga ready to finish the task.
We didn’t have to walk for very long before we came across a group of guinea fowl sitting out in the open, pecking away at insects.
Guinea fowl meat was a little tough but it tasted delicious when roasted over an open fire.We changed direction and intentionally walked downwind from the fowls to get closer, so that our presence wouldn’t be detected.
Soon we were in the perfect position.
I crouched behind Ayo and watched as he went down on one knee.
Holding the spear above his head, he took aim.
After a brief pause and a deep breath, he lunged back before throwing the spear through the air.
It whipped through the grass and hit it’s target.
I quickly ran towards our prey as the other fowls rustled into the grass, trying to hide.
I took hold of the wounded fowl and not allowing it to suffer a moment longer than necessary I quickly ended it’s life.The following morning Ayo and I walked in the shadows of the Moto Mountain along with many other men, women and children from the villages nearby.
The mountain formed a huge, imposing presence and dwarfed the ‘mountain’ I climbed every morning by comparison.
A cluster of clouds hung around the rock-face that morning and all I could see of the massive mountain was its top which protruded from the mist.
The air around me grew cooler as I entered the wide mouth of the cave and the contrast of the already warm morning outside sent shivers up my spine.
Ancient stories of how the cave came to be tells the tale of how Zjarr took the earth in her hands and moulded the lands of Zjarri like clay until she made it to her liking.
She created everything I saw with ease but not everything was perfect.
She was having a difficult time bringing into being the mountain she would call home.
She failed time and again, until her rage bubbled over and exploded.
The explosion blew a deep, dark hole into the side of her imperfect mountain, deeming it complete in her eyes.
Zjarr’s rage created a cave and it’s in this cave that the Keepers of Fire live.
The Keepers are men of various ages who choose to leave their families and their lives behind them.
In exchange, they live in the cave, dedicating their lives to Zjarr and to the sacred fires that burn within it’s depths.
The Keepers live a simple life and they rely on goodwill provided by pilgrims and worshippers.
It’s with this goodwill along with the energy of Zjarr that they manage to survive.
They live in quiet observation of the world around them and wait for the people to come to them.
Crowds of village folk come to the mountain daily to see it’s wonders or to simply pray.
The cave was already filled with people as Ayo and I walked deeper into its interior.
It was very dark inside the cave despite the stone fire-pits that were dotted around it and I had to stop while my eyes adjusted to the darkness.
Once I was able to see more clearly, I looked around the cave and saw among the villagers, small groups of men dressed in bright red and black robes.
The Keepers of Fire.
They walked around the cave without sandals, believing it brought them closer to Zjarr.
There was a group of villagers who were talking to a Keeper and as I came closer I overheard part of the knowledge he was passing onto them.
“The Fire burns within you.
Trust it and it will show you the way.” I continued to explore the cave and while looking up at the endless ceiling of rock, I nearly fell over a Keeper sitting alone on the floor.
He was very still and had his eyes closed in deep inner reflection.
It looked like I hadn’t disturbed him so I moved on and noticed a group of Keepers sitting on a smooth area of rock.
They were chanting deeply.
Their faces were calm and free of frowns and wrinkles as the powerful sound that vibrated from their bodies bounced off the walls.
It was a soothing sound and I wondered briefly if their way of life would suit me.
It may be a simple one yet it would be a life lived in total balance with everything seen and unseen.
Leaving my side, Ayo walked over to the Shrine of Flames and placed his offering of tree nuts into one of the metal bowls that sat beside it.
He then stood back to pray.
I gazed around at the fires that were housed all around the cave.
Not only did they light up the dark interior but the Keepers used them to foresee the future.
Babu told me that when they stared into the flames, images of the future came to them straight from Zjarr, our Fire Mother.
A large stone fire-pit sat in the middle of the cave.
This fire-pit wasn’t like the others that dotted the cave.
The wonder of this particular one was that it never needed extra tinder and it never burnt out.
The Keepers believed this fire was Zjarr’s and they used the flames to light the other smaller pits throughout the cave.
I walked over to the pit and looked into the flames.
Unexpectedly I started to feel sweaty and my vision started to blur.
I needed to get some fresh air.
I was about to turn around and leave when a Keeper joined me at the fire.
He reached out with his left hand and placed it on my bare chest.
The Keeper looked a year or two older than my twenty-five years but his eyes were cloudy and glazed like those of an old man.
He dropped his gaze and stared into the flames.
I kept an eye on him as he stood there.
I wasn’t sure what was going on or what would happen next when without warning he jerked his head up and looked at me again.
This time his eyes were dark and smoky and I blinked twice, not sure if my own eyes were playing tricks on me.
Suddenly I felt a burning sensation on the patch of my skin under his hand.
It was painful but I couldn’t move.
Something was keeping me there.“You are a guardian, my brother, you must protect the first Fourborn! The mayi must die!” The Keeper said in a clear, urgent voice.
“Find the Four before it’s too late!”Without warning, the Keeper blinked, coming out of his trance-like state.
He dropped his hand and walked away as though nothing had happened.
Something had happened though but I wasn’t exactly sure what.
Had the Keeper just caught a glimpse of my future? A future for humanity perhaps? I shook my head and laughed at myself for even thinking such a thing.
I didn’t believe in this sort of thing.
What he had said was just a jumbled mix of words and they meant nothing to me.
Ayo then walked up to me, finished with his praying.
“Are you ready?” he asked.“I am,” I replied frowning, then I surprised myself by adding.
“Yes, I’m ready to join you and become a warrior.”My brother looked at me for a long time, then he started to nod and a smile spread over his face.
He must have known something that I didn’t.
He slapped me on the back and walked out of the cave.
I turned back to the fire and rubbed my head before following him out into the sunlight.
“What just happened in there?” I asked him, taking a deep drink of water.
I was still feeling strange and the area on my chest where the Keeper had touched me was still warm.
“I just made an offering to Zjarr.
I have no idea what happened to you though!” Ayo laughed as we walked down the path that lead back to Khaya.