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’d made up my mind.
Even so, the question as to whether it was by my own hand or by a supernatural power still played on my mind.
I guess it didn’t really matter in the end, did it? I was going to become a warrior.
I would be joining my brother and the other dedicated men of Zjarri as they fought to protect our land.
I told my family about my decision the moment Ayo and I returned from the mountain.
I got mixed feelings as each of their reactions told me a different story.Jomo was oblivious and happy to hear that he didn’t have to share a hut with me any more.
Bibi was pleased that I would be joining a noble cause.
Mama was proud but sad to be losing another child to Askari, even though I would be home to visit.
Babu was silent and I winced at the disappointment on his face.
The mood around the fire that night was a little sombre and I felt guilty to be leaving everyone I loved behind.
After we had eaten, Mama came over and sat down next to me.
She took my face in her hands and for a long while we simply looked at one another.
My mother, Sade, controlled her Fire well and I found it difficult to determine what she was truly feeling.
Finally, she broke the silence, her voice sweet and soothing to my ears.
“Know that you will be deeply missed.
But I am proud of you, Kofi.
No matter what happens, you will always be my son.
You will always be right here in my heart.”Mama’s words touched me, but I reminded myself that I’d made the right choice - at least for this stage of my life.
I was the only one who would have to live with the joy or regrets of my decision.I had my bags packed and ready bright and early four days later.
Eagerly, I joined Ayo and the rest of the returning warriors as we started out on the path to Askari.
The morning sun was warm on my face and the breeze was cool yet after a few hours of walking that pleasant state was pushed aside by the burning hot midday sun.
I was hot and sweaty and the bag I had on my back was uncomfortable causing me to constantly shift it around.
It was only then that I realized that the path to Askari would be a long one.
I couldn’t understand it.
I’d walked longer and further than this many times in my life so why was I struggling? It made no sense at all.
Pondering over it for a while I came up with the only reasonable answer I could think of.
Zjarr was testing me.
She was seeing if I truly was worthy of living and fighting among her warriors.
I decided to prove to her that I was indeed worthy.
Pushing aside all my pain and discomfort, I concentrated instead on the songs of victory and battle that the warriors sang.
Their voices were rough yet clear over the grass plains and the sound drew the attention of a herd of gazelle grazing in the distance.
It was late in the day when we stopped to set up camp for the night.
I shrugged my bag off my shoulders while Ayo crouched over a pile of sticks ready to start a fire.
He held his hands close to the sticks while striking the nails of his little fingers together and, to my utter astonishment, sparks came out of his nails and burst into flames, lighting the sticks in front of him.
I couldn’t believe it! My brother had just made a fire by using his hands! Ayo laughed at my disbelief.
“How did you do that? I never knew you possessed such a gift.”“I’m not the only one.
Haven’t you ever wondered why Babu’s nails are stained black? It’s a gift from Zjarr.
She has blessed us with the ability to make fire no matter where we are located.
It makes perfect sense.
We have a Fire burning inside us after all.”It didn’t make perfect sense though.
“Why haven’t I known about this before now?” I asked, feeling betrayed.“Prior to this you were still a child and such a great gift in the hands of a child is dangerous.
Just imagine, you would have set fire to everything if you had known about it! Now you know why it’s a gift reserved for grown men.”I tried to make my own spark by striking my fingernails together but all I achieved was a puff of smoke.
What was wrong with me? I was twenty-five years old.
Surely that was old enough to be considered a man?“I’ll show you how to do it.
Believe me, it will become second nature to you with plenty of practice,” Ayo said, adding wood to his fire.
The moon was at it’s fullest that night and shone brightly in the starry night sky.
Soon a metal pot filled with water was placed near the fire ready to brew some kava and a couple of skinned hare were skewered and set over the flames to cook.The warriors we were travelling with sat down then to drink the dark, bitter brew and to relax after a long day’s walk.
They chatted among themselves and ate the meat from the roasted hare just as Ayo and I did.
“Is there anything else I should know about?” I asked Ayo, referring to our fire-making skill.“The wonders of our people have only just started to reveal themselves to you.
There’s so much more to come, Brother.” Ayo smiled, throwing the hare bones into the fire so that they’d become part of Zjarr again.Later, the warriors prepared themselves for sleep.
They were disciplined and it was plain to see they valued rest above talking late into the night.
Something I would have to get used to.I’d brought the simple sleeping mat I always slept on, together with a lightweight blanket to keep the chill away.
The warriors, on the other hand, had a totally different way of sleeping and it wasn’t out in the open under the stars as I’d imagined.
They each unrolled a bundle of fabric that was sewn together to form a long tube within which a man could be completely concealed.
One of the warriors crawled inside his fabric tube and propped up each end with a couple of thick sticks.
“It’s called a tent,” Ayo explained.
“We’re all issued with one once we arrive in Askari.
We sleep in them and keep our belongings in them.
They protect us from the sun and the rain and they eventually become our homes, I guess.”“Why don’t you just sleep in a hut?”“A hut would be the obvious choice but sometimes we’re sent out on scouting missions which last for hours and sometimes for days at a time and building a hut every time we’re sent out would be impossible.
A tent like this means that we’re able to assemble it quickly and a comfortable shelter is ready within moments.
We took the idea from those desert savages in Brissa and modified the design to suit our needs.”All I could manage was a nod.It was day one of my new life and I was already experiencing a kind of adventure.
I’d seen so many things that had surprised me and I couldn’t wait for what was to come! We reached the Zjarrian Brissan border just after midday a day later.
What lay before me was unbelievable and it felt like I’d stepped into a strange new world.
I was able to see the red dunes up close for the first time in my life.
I was fascinated with the way they managed to look harsh and deceptive and yet intriguing at the same time.
The wind was blowing so fiercely that day that even at a distance I could see the dunes moving and reshaping themselves.
Ten or twelve metal fire bowls could be seen in the distance.
They were huge and created a boundary around Askari.
A few of the fire bowls located on the border facing the dunes were half covered with sand and I could see why the desert encroaching on our lands was such a problem.
Askari was humming with activity.
I had no idea that so many of our people were stationed out here.
Everyone had a job to do and they all did it with a sense of urgency.
The same tents the warriors had slept the night before were stationed to one side of the camp but this time, they were greater in number and set up in straight lines.
In the middle of Askari were twenty or so permanent mud huts with thatched roofs.
They had been built over looking the dunes in the shape of an arch.
In the centre of this arch sat a huge stone fire pit.
The flames that licked the sky were hot and burnt ferociously.My attention was pulled away from the fire by the sound of snorting, grunting and groaning.
Spinning around I came face to face with a bull.
This was no ordinary bull though.
The creature staring at me had a thick, black hide and was at least twice as large as the bulls we had in our village.
The bull was built of pure muscle and the ground shook under my feet as it stomped passed me.
Two sharpened horns rose from it’s massive head.
They were as thick as my thigh at the base and as long as my staff.
The red-eyed beast looked like a creature that only Zjarr could really control.
Watching as it passed, I saw the bull was pulling something along with it.
I looked to Ayo for answers.“There’s a man who lives among us here who we like to call the Inventor.
He’s a little senile and walks around mumbling to himself.
Most of the time he just utters random words, but occasionally, something happens to him.
It’s like Zjarr fills him with ingenious clarity and this,” Ayo said pointing to the object, “is the type of thing he comes up with.
The Inventor calls it a cart and the round supports are wheels.
Before this creation was invented, we had to carry everything and most of the time it was over long distances.
Now we just pile whatever we need onto a cart and the items are moved for us in no time at all.
Baba liked the Inventor’s idea so much that together they created a cart they call a kabwa.
A wooden structure similar to this one is reinforced with metal sheets and it has a solid sturdy base which rests on metal wheels.
The resulting kabwa can hold ten men - a driver and nine warriors and can be driven into battle.
The bulls that pull them are strong and fast and a pair of them create a formidable team.”“Have you ridden in one?” I asked, unable to keep my eyes off the size of the bull.“Once, but it was dangerous and deadly,” Ayo answered with a serious face that broke into a wide smile, “And I can’t wait to try it again!”I laughed as he walked ahead of me.
It was then that I noticed that my brother’s body looked different.
Somehow he’d developed muscles in his neck that weren’t there before and the muscles on his arms and his back had tripled in size.
I ran up to him and peered at his bare chest, trying not to draw attention to myself.
The muscles there had grown in size too.
I looked at my own body and saw the same thing had happened to me.
“It’s the fires,” Ayo grinned.“What do you mean? What’s happened to us?”“You see the boundary of fires around us?”I nodded.“Well, just like those fires in the cave at Moto Mountain, we believe Zjarr lives in them.
We don’t use them in the same way as the Keepers do however.
Instead of predicting the future, these fires fill us with a powerful energy that allows us to train and fight just like Zjarr would.
It makes us strong, brave and invincible.
It turns us into true warriors.”“What happens when we leave the boundary?”“We go back to being our old selves.
That’s why the Inventor created the carts.
Now we can take our fire with us when we fight.
Who would want to leave the boundary though, unless you really had to, when being in this energized state feels so much better?”I had to agree with him.
I felt fitter and healthier as I flexed my arms.
I was ready to take on anything but I drew my limit at the raging bull I’d just seen, that creature was insane.Walking beside Ayo, I spotted groups of warriors engaged in training.
Half the warriors to my surprise, were women.
They practised alongside the men and took every blow and threw every punch on par with them.
They looked like a force to be reckoned with.Some of the warriors were fighting hand-to-hand while others were sparring with long pangas, their curved blades sparkling in the sun.
Others sat bravely on bull’s backs while they practised shooting arrows at targets.
All the warriors that I witnessed were exceptionally well-skilled and they would prove to be an intimidating force in battle.Looking closely, I noticed that their weapons had two things in common.
The first being that they were very well crafted and the second being that they appeared to be in pristine condition.
I looked at my slightly rusted, bent panga and felt embarrassed at it’s poor condition.
“Come, Baba will want to know you’re here.”I snapped out of my amazement at the mention of my father.
I hadn’t seen him in over a year and up until now that had suited me just fine.We walked towards a group of older men who were deep in discussion.“If we flank them well before they reach the oasis, our plan should work,” said a man with a head of grey hair.“Don’t be foolish! If we do what you’re suggesting we’ll be in their lands and they will pick up on our presence,” argued another.
Ayo cleared his throat and butted into the conversation.
“Excuse me, Wakuu, I have a new recruit for your inspection.”One of the men who stood a head taller than the rest turned to face us and I recognized him as my father.
To me he was just Baba but in this place he was Gamba Magoro, Wakuu of the warriors.
The frown he always wore had left a permanent mark between his brows and his eyes were hard and ruthless.
He wore a wrap of traditional red Zjarrian fabric around his waist and his chest was covered with a leather-armoured vest that was studded with metal chips.
A likeness of a roaring fire had been etched into the hard material, a symbol of our people.
Covering his feet were sturdy well-crafted leather sandals that fitted him perfectly and secured around his waist on either side, sat a curve-bladed panga.
The muscles in his arms were larger than mine or Ayo’s and his legs were solid on the ground despite the massive scar on his right calf.
Overall my father was a figure of authority and honour and let no man tell you otherwise.
“Ah, Kofi my son, you’ve made up your mind at last.
So you’ve come to join the fight, have you?” It was worded more like a challenge than a question.“Yes, Baba, I have,” I replied, forcing myself to look him in the eye.My father was silent for a moment.“You will address me as Wakuu,” he grunted.
“One day if you’re lucky you will be a warrior worthy of protecting our people.
You’re no longer a village boy.
You’ve made the choice to be a man so act like one.
Ayo, see to it that your brother is sorted out.” I knew by the tone of my father’s voice that it was an order and not a simple request.“Yes, Wakuu.”My father nodded and turned back to his discussion.
“Well, that was everything I expected it to be,” I said when we were out of my father’s hearing.
“Like I said before, Kofi, don’t worry about him.
Well done for looking him in the eye though,” Ayo said, slapping me on the back.
“Come, let’s go and find you a tent and a runga, then I’ll show you around the camp before we eat dinner.”I followed Ayo towards a large shady marula tree.
A group of women sat on low metal stools beneath it.
They were busy sewing pieces of fabric together and rubbing them in animal fat whilst chatting away in loud voices.
Ayo greeted the women a little too fondly and then turned to introduce me, “This is my brother, Kofi, he has come from our village of Khaya to join the warriors.”The women smiled in approval as they looked me up and down.One of the women stood up and approached me, her hips swaying seductively in my direction, “You’ll be in need of a tent then?”I nodded as she handed me a tent roll.
“Thank you,” I said not knowing where to place my eyes.Ayo and I were turning to leave when one of the women shouted after us, “Come and visit us again soon, Ayo and be sure to bring your brother with you!”My face was burning with embarrassment but I didn’t have time to think about it for long as our next stop was a hut with a make-shift shelter added onto the front of it.
A man with the burliest arms I have ever seen stood beneath it while he pounded away on a panga with a huge metal hammer.
“Ah, a new recruit I see!” he exclaimed, eyeing my new tent.
“Glad to have you with us.”“Kofi, this is Ganya, he’s our master weaponsmith,” Ayo stated, grasping the man’s forearm in greeting.“I’m pleased to meet you, sir.” “Every weapon you see in Askari was crafted by Ganya’s hands.
He’s a genius with a hammer and a piece of metal,” Ayo explained.“A good warrior uses his weapon not as a tool but as an extension of his arm,” Ganya began.
“What discipline will you be trained in?”“We haven’t met with Kizza yet.
That’s our next stop.”“Indeed no matter what skill you train in, every warrior needs a runga,” Ganya affirmed, handing me a new blade.The short, wide-bladed dagger was light in my hand.
It was perfectly balanced and displayed a hilt made from polished bone with a metal blade that shone in the late afternoon sun.
“Now, Kofi, a true warrior keeps his weapons clean and sharp,” Ganya advised, handing me a sharpening stone.
“This displays his character and tells everyone how he sees himself,” he added, eyeing the old panga that hung at my side.
“I promise to keep it in good condition.” The runga I held was this man’s passion and I would cherish it.“Very well, I’d better get back to it,” he smiled, picking up his hammer again.
“Come and drink kava with me sometime when you’re settled in.”“Everyone’s so friendly,” I remarked as I secured my new runga to my side.“Yes, they are,” Ayo smiled.
“We’ve all chosen this difficult way of life and we’ve become like family out here.
In addition, everyone’s always curious when someone new arrives.”“What did Ganya mean when he asked which discipline will I be trained in?”“Come, let’s go and visit Kizza and you can find out,” Ayo said, walking ahead of me.“Sorry for all the questions Brother but who is Kizza?”“He’s an old man with an unusual skill for seeing the warrior within a man.
Just by looking at you and by asking you strange, and I mean strange, questions, he determines which discipline would best suit you.”“Does he ever get it wrong?” I asked as we walked passed warriors throwing short spears into far away targets.“I don’t think he ever has.
As I understand it, if he does get it wrong, your weapon will reject you on first contact.”We arrived at a hut where an old man was sitting outside.
He was just watching the world around him but when he noticed us, he sprang up with life and energy more than his age would suggest.
Ayo settled himself down on a stool off to the side, leaving the man to do his work.
I stood still as Kizza walked around me making sounds of contemplation and careful decision while rubbing his hands vigorously together.
His constant circling was making me dizzy when he finally stopped.
“Hold your arms out in front of you, my boy.” Kizza commanded in a breathy voice.I did as I was told.“Hmm steady,” he mumbled to himself.
“What did you have for breakfast?”Fumbling over my words, I thought back to my morning meal.
“Flatbread and elephant fruit.” Just like all the other warriors.“Elephant fruit good, good.” Then without warning, the old man slapped me on the right thigh.
“Too thin for a rider but too tall for a kabwa.”Kizza started to circle me again.
“Tell me the first word that pops into your head when I say, birds.”“Flight,” I answered.“Gazelle?”“Swift.”“Fire?”“Me.”“Ah, very good indeed!” the old man said, scratching the patchy grey beard on his chin.Kizza then took each of my shoulders in his rough hands and squeezed them firmly.
He was a lot stronger than he looked.
I was in pain but I knew flinching would reveal some sort of weakness.
The old man then stood back and looked at me from a distance.
Waiting patiently, I wondered what I would become when he shouted out, “Archer! You will train with the bow and arrow!”Ayo stood and thanked the peculiar man.
I was stunned, not sure what had just happened.“How does he do that?” I asked.“He just does!” Ayo snapped, jealously, clouding his eyes.
He blinked and it was gone.Had I imagined it?“No matter how I try to explain it, you’ll be left with more questions than answers.
You will become an archer and a good one too! Your training begins tomorrow.
Come let’s get something to eat and then I think we should turn in for the night, it’s been a long day.”