The Wind and Fire is the first book released in the series and tells the story of two Fourborn Guardians, Kofi and Lela and how the prophecy of the waning moon gives them both direction in a world without freedom.
Kofi Magoro is an unlikely hero:
Second son to Gamba and Sade Magoro, Kofi has been called many things. The village boy, the over protective brother, the rebellious son, the hesitant warrior but nothing has suited him more than being the unlikely hero of his own making.
Brother to Ayo, Xola and Jomo, Kofi inherited his need for adventure from no one in his family. This doesn't stop him from pursuing his dreams, even though he has to work through his uncertainty and the lack of direction that frustrates him.
The open, jovial face in the crowd, Kofi makes friends easily and family takes on an important role in his life. An intelligent spiritualist he has strong ties to his homeland of Zjarri and to it's people and will stop at nothing to keep these ideals safe.
The sacred Fire of Zjarr is everything to Kofi. When he finds himself away from his element, Kofi armed with only his belief and inner strength is forced to kindle the Fire that lives within him on his own even if it means insurgency.
A practicing archer and amateur fire lighter, Kofi likes to start his days off early, rising in time to bask in the sun and all her wonders. He is a keen hunter, an elephant fruit addict and makes the ideal companion if you want to stick around for just one more cup of kava.
As his story grows, Kofi assumes the role of leader of the Fourborn Guardians. Armed with a fierce determination and the Fire that burns inside of him, he will always find a way to continue to fight for what is right.
Lela Iboro Asar is an outcast princess:
The creation of a frowned upon love between Hakim Asar and Thema Kibibi Iboro, Lela was born a despised, motherless child. An only child she grew up with the elements of two very different worlds raging on inside of her.
Roaming the red dunes, Lela is taken in by the outcasts of Brissan society, but this doesn't stop her from fighting the link she has with the Wind. Outspoken, hot headed yet sensitive Lela stands against her father's people while her desperate need for acceptance drives her closer and closer towards Zjarr and the Fire.
In her mind being accepted by her mother's people means that she needs to abandon the Wind completely. Lela soon learns that this is not the case when Wind briefly dominates the Fire. Instead she learns that both elements have to live together in order for her to grow.
Witty, kind hearted and determined, Lela loathes camels and early mornings. A girl of impeccable night vision, unruly hair and a peculiar fashion sense using Brissan colourless glass and crystal bracelets - she is at her happiest next to a roaring camp fire out in the open plains of Zjarri, a cup of kava in hand while she shares stories and honey cakes.
Megan Futcher's Mini-Bio:
People and cultures have always fascinated me and I enjoy thumbing through heavy books on anthropology and archaeology. My novels and novellas dive into an unknown world before recorded history and I love asking the 'what if' question while I share online and write the 4 born, a fantasy spin on human evolution and freedom exploring strength and beauty of multiculturalism.
Wind and Fire Synopsis:
In a world where the four elements rule as gods, the Gaias of Wind, Fire, Water and Earth determine the existence and fate of every man and women. Threatening this seemingly perfect world is the Fourborn – a yet to be identified baby born of all four races and the only one who has the power to set mankind free from it's elemental shackles.
Divinely chosen in the pending chaos is a guardian from each race. With the words of an ancient prophesy as their only guide, they must find and protect the Four born at all costs or risk losing everything they hold dear.
The moon was full and bright by this time and, as predicted, it’s dependable presence had brought with it a change in the wind.
The wind blew in from the central interior of Brissa and it proved to be hot, dry and as relentless as ever.
This however never stopped the Brissan Clan.The Brissans moved when the wind changed.
It was a fact of desert life, a fact that drove my father’s people forward towards life.
The wind that Briss blows over her land lives in all her people.
It’s this wind that gives her people the will to survive in this unforgiving, desolate place that they call home.
The changing wind gives the Clan direction but, most importantly, it gives them the strength to move on.
The Clan would be lost without guidance from the Wind Mother and it would end in them being wandering souls, forever locked in an unchanging time.The Brissans are a naturally resourceful and independent people.
Externally they are sturdy people who are completely in control of their element and yet internally, they are just as fickle, unstable and as ill-tempered as Briss herself.
It’s, however, the warriors who define who the Clan really is.
The men of the Brissan Clan are great and powerful warriors and they have many stories of victory under their wide leather belts.
There wouldn’t be brave warriors to tell their tales, without Briss though.
The warriors depend on Briss and her Wind.
She fills them with a vigour and a bravery so strong and powerful that the energy could only have come from a higher being.
This divine energy allows the warriors to perform amazing feats.
Feats which no normal man would even contemplate doing.
When the power of our Wind Mother fills these ordinarily lean, scrawny men, their bodies fill out and become muscular and their blood, hot and searing can be seen pumping through their raised veins.
It’s said that they take on supernatural speed and become as swift as the wind, a blur of white and black in their enemies’ eyes.
Tragically however, the energy that defines these elite men is also their greatest downfall.
The power of the wind makes them savage and the stronger the wind blows, the more blood can be seen in their dark green eyes.
The energy makes them wild and uncontrollable and it’s for this reason alone that I carry a sharp glass-bladed dagger at my side.
I have even taken to sleeping with it under my pillow just in case a group of those brutes comes looking for a bit of fun, like once before.There are only two things in this world that are even vaguely capable of controlling these power-crazed men.
The first thing is the consumption of large quantities of poppy seeds which leaves the men in a relaxed state, making them easier to control.
The second thing, for some strange reason is the women of Brissa.
Briss has given these patient women the ability to take on an unseen control and has given them a gift for creating a calming, composed air around these wild men.
The men would kill each other until not one was left standing without the women and their skills and tricks.This frenzied killing has happened before and this is why our female presence outnumbers the males three to one.
It’s for this very reason that the women of the Clan insist on travelling as a complete unit of men and women.
Yet this time was different.
I couldn’t understand why my father had taken three hundred of his finest warriors and two elders with him to travel ahead of the rest of the Clan to Apa - the next oasis with not a single woman to accompany them.
No one dared argue with the Chief though.
He voiced his opinion strongly saying that it was impossible that the mere presence of a woman could control a warrior energized with the Wind of Briss.My father went on to explain himself further, saying that the reason they were going ahead this time, was to secure the oasis.
If I could see through his lies then so could the rest of the women.
The men were going ahead of everyone else so that they could fill their stomachs with as much food and drink as they fancied.
Even though the land Briss had created was a harsh, barren and windy one, she has given her people a generous gift.
She gives them the gift of life spread among the ever-changing dunes of Brissa in the form of oases.
Briss has placed three large, lush, fertile and shady oases on her lands and in-between them, short rest stop oases just large enough for us to enjoy the shade and to replenish our water skins.
It’s the three large oases - Apa, Voda and Ura, however, that the Brissans set their eyes on.
The oases give the Clan much more than food and water, they provide a wary people with rest and salvation from a life driven by pure survival.
My father’s people are nomads and travelling between the oases is one of the few purposes they have in this life.
They walk for long distances through the blazing hot desert until they can rest, eat, drink and refresh themselves.
And they will continue to do so until the oasis is as barren as the rest of the land surrounding it.
Packing up, shortly after, they will move onto the next oasis.
It’s a vicious, endless cycle and it was this cycle that they were about to continue.
The process of packing our camp up and the many days of walking I had ahead of me would bring me a valuable time of self-reflection and contemplation as to what lay ahead.
A change in the wind brought about a change in the Clan.
A change in the Clan brought about travel to a lush and abundant place and that place would bring with it a chance of escape.
You would think that the task of setting up and pulling camps down on such a regular basis would mean the Clan had an organized system, one where everyone knows what they were supposed to be doing.Well, you’d be wrong.
There wasn’t any order at all and everyone in the Clan just did as they pleased.
Every race of people has it’s flaws and the Brissans are lazy and afraid of hard work.
What with of all the personal agendas floating around, setting our camps up and removing them again took ages.
My Auntie Zahara took her laziness to a whole different level though.
Her connections to my father were very important to her in this matter.
She refused to help.
She was the Chief’s sister after all and such tasks were beneath her dignity.
She was quite content to sit back and occasionally bark orders watching as I did all the hard work.
The sun was at it’s highest and at it’s hottest in the cloudless sky and I could feel a trickle of sweat running down my back.
I was tired and thirsty but I tried to ignore the needs of my body.
The sooner I had everything packed up, the sooner we could be on our way and the sooner my chance of escape would arrive.
Packing up a home that has been sitting on the sand for moons on end is a laborious task and I decided to start with the inside of the tent.
Folding my dusty blanket and rolling up my bed roll first, I tied them together with a thick piece of dried camel sinew.
I then moved onto packing my few changes of clothing and my meagre belongings along with my most precious item - a colourful fabric rag doll that my mother had made for me before I was born.
I looked at the doll and sighed before putting it safely into the camel leather bag along with the rest of my things.
I wish I had known my mother, even for the briefest time.
I needed the guidance and reassurance I knew she once had, now more than ever.
Taking my bag and my bed outside, I placed them to one side.
I would secure them to the camel once I had everything packed.
I then moved onto packing up Auntie Zahara’s bedroll along with her ten cushions and then proceeded onto her countless kaftans, head scarves and sandals.
Her clothes and bed had a peculiar smell about them.
I didn’t know what the odour was and I hoped I never would.
Let me put it out there - my auntie was involved in some strange ritual that involved a group of women and the full moon.
I don’t know any of the real details but all I can say is, she often comes back to our tent very late at night with her kaftan and headscarf ruffled and tangled, smelling of sweat and that strange odour that penetrates all her possessions.
Naked moon dancing? Summoning of desert spirits? An insane sex cult? I didn’t want to think about it and I quickly placed her bags and bedding in a separate pile on the sand.
The glass cooking plates, cups and utensils were last and I hastily packed these into a fabric saddle bag.
Standing outside the tent, I decided to rest for a moment before I continued but my rest was cut short with my auntie’s complaints.“You’ve been idle all your life so why are you resting? I haven’t got all day.”I glared at Auntie Zahara, clicking my tongue in anger.
I untied the sinew straps that held the tent down in harsh winds with more force than was probably needed, then pulled all the supporting poles out from under the heavy fabric.
A whoosh of air escaped through the door flap as the tent folded in on itself.
I bundled the palm poles up, tying them together while I waited for all the air to escape.
Next came the task of making sure the fabric was flat and straight.
I’d figured out that by doing this, it made things much easier when it came time to reassembling the tent.
All the poles had their place and, this way, they slotted in quickly.
I then folded the tent in half and in half again.
I lowered myself onto my knees, sinking a little into the soft sand and rolled the tent up.
I then turned my attention to the camels who stood nearby chewing on nothing but air.
My auntie owned three of these desert creatures and they served a dual purpose.
When they were up to it, they gave us milk which was a priceless asset out here in the desert.
We drank the nutritious milk and made hard cheese from any leftovers.
The camels second purpose was to carry the Clan and their tents over the long distances that we travelled.
Apart from this, I saw them as useless beasts that ate and drank too much.
Sounded just like most of the Brissan men I know!I hoisted a padded leather and fabric one-seated saddle up onto the camel that Auntie Zahara would be riding.
I then secured her bedding and clothing bags equally weighted around the animal.
My auntie liked to have all her possessions with her when she travelled.
I’m not sure why though as it just made the camel slower, perhaps it was a reminder of what she had and who she was aspiring to be.Moving onto the second camel, I loaded it up with the saddle bags filled with our odds and ends and then firmly secured the tent onto its bare hump with long strips of sinew.
The third camel was unofficially for me and my things.
A double-seated saddle had come with the animal, not that I would ride the beast anyway.
I despise camels! Not only had I not mastered the simple skill of steering one but I hated the way they smelt and the way they always seemed to kick me.
I prefer walking which I did at a safe distance away from the animal.
I did however use the camel to carry all my things.The last thing that needed to be packed were the Iko tents and the crystal discs.
This task didn’t fall to me but I watched on as I checked the camels over.
There were six Brissan women who were responsible for this task and the same six women were responsible for this undertaking every time.
The women took the tents that allowed the sharp beams of sunlight in down and folded them up.
One of the six women was packing the equipment up together with the moulds they used to make the glass items that we could not do without, into a saddle bag.
Next they took on the delicate task of taking down the heavy glass crystal discs from their support poles.
The crystals were huge and it took all six women to lift them.
There were two discs and they each went into a camel-wool padded pouch for protection.
They were then secured onto the backs of two camel bulls.
The sun was starting to set by the time I’d finished loading the camels.
We would be on our way shortly after the sun had set completely.
The Clan preferred to travel at night when the heat of the day had subsided and the wind had died down to a bearable level.
During the journey, daytime hours were used for resting and keeping out of the sun.
Reaching up into my bag, I pulled out a scrap of clean fabric.
I needed to rub the kohl off my eyes.
I wouldn’t be needing it’s anti-glare properties while we travelled that night, I would however be in need of my sharp vision in the coming darkness and the black paste blurred my sight.
I was just lifting the fabric up to my left eye when I heard a shrill voice followed by giggles that were coming from behind me.
I turned around and groaned when I saw that the Princesses were walking towards me.
The encounters I had with Amira and Suri never ended well.
I’d named the girls the Princesses because that was what their names meant.
It was pretty unoriginal of me, but that wasn’t the only reason.
It was because of the way they swayed their hips around with their noses in the air wishing they were actually princesses.
There was also an air of complete stupidity that followed them around like a bad odour.
They had high and mighty attitudes and took no responsibility for the absurd things they did and said.
“Look Suri, look at Lela! She’s all sweaty and ugly just like her mother!” Amira squealed, pointing in my direction.I pride myself as someone who prefers to stay away from conflict but I push that aside when the insults are directed at my mother.
She wasn’t here to defend herself and I felt it’s my duty to stand up for her.
It also meant I didn’t have to be amiable anymore.“Oh Suri, Amira it’s only you.
I thought for a moment there that it was someone important!” I spat.“Tell me something, Lela, do you own a comb? ‘Cause, if you don’t, you could always borrow mine,” Suri smiled sweetly, “but then again, I wouldn’t want to catch whatever you’ve got!”Amira let out a high-pitched laugh but I just rolled my eyes.
This routine of theirs was becoming really stale.“Did I tell you? I had the most wonderful dream about you the other night.
In the dream you were screaming because all your hair had fallen out!” I grinned.“Maybe… Maybe you should just go back to your own kind, you don’t belong here.” Amira said, stroking her long dark locks.I’d thrown them off balance.
Perfect, I had the upper hand.“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were such an expert on my life and how I should live it.
Please carry on while I continue not to care!”“Are you insulting us?” Suri asked, her hands firmly on her hips.“If I was, you’d be too stupid to realize it.
Now run along back to your pathetic lives.” I snapped.The Princesses stormed off in a sulk and I smiled, ignoring the tears that burned my eyes.We finally set out as the deep orange sun slipped behind the dunes and was replaced by the bluish hues of dusk.
The breeze was cool on my skin for the first time that day and I breathed in deeply as I walked alongside my camel as near as I dared.
I’d been in two minds about naming the animal for some time now.
But was it really worth giving something a name I had no emotional connection to? Something I would be leaving behind very soon? I blinked once then twice as my eyes adjusted to the darkness and looked at the long line of Brissans that stood ahead of me.The Clan may have been disorganized when it came to erecting and taking down their camps but they made up for this in the very organized and structured way that they travelled.
Everyone had their place in the caravan and everyone adhered to it no matter what happened.Usually, my father and the warriors rode at the head of the line but this time my auntie and the other self-appointed important members of my father’s family had taken his place.
Next in line came the rest of the Clan members and behind them the livestock.
I made up the rear along with the old Keepers, my camel and the other Blends.
The only way a Blend could avoid travelling at the back of the line was if he was a boy born to a Brissan man.
All the others, like myself were shunted to the back as outcasts.
The livestock were more valuable than we were! Among the Blends was a young goat herdsman named Jasper and his little sister, Deeba.
I’d watched them grow over the last few Cycles - that’s what the Clan calls our travels and I liked to think of the children as my travelling siblings.
Blends weren’t allowed to socialize in camp, just in case we became unruly.
Rules were different in the caravan however and Blends were forced to be together.
This was the only aspect of travelling which I liked.
During this time, I was able to spend time with people who were just like me.
There was no prejudice at the back of the line.
We were all subjected to the same fate and we just got on with it.
We did so with much laughing and chatting though and it was the only time I ever felt alive.I hated everything else about travelling with a passion! The traveller’s life, a fundamental part of the Clan wasn’t for me.
I hated the way that nothing in my life was stable or permanent.
I loathed moving around and I was tired of it.
I just wanted a home and a life that didn’t jump the moment the Wind commanded.I sighed, hopefully, all this would change shortly.
The Keepers words drifted through my mind and I wondered what lay ahead in Joro and who this Four could be? I hoped it would be a strong, handsome young man who would sweep me off my feet and take me to a home where I could live out the remainder of my days in peace.
What? A girl’s allowed to dream you know.
Besides a young man of that calibre simply didn’t exist among the Clan.
Brissan men are stupid, overly brave fools anyway! I would be an exotic prize in their eyes and that would be about it.
I was just glad to be removing myself from that kind of attention.
The Blends were chatting and my camel was grunting and spitting as usual as she slowly moved over the desert sands.
The stars shone brightly in the night sky, lighting our way, not that we needed to be lead anywhere at night.
Briss had blessed my father’s people with perfect night vision and they had no problem navigating the dark dunes.
Everything was calm and relaxed for once and I released the tension in my shoulders.
Jasper, to my right, was busy trying to keep his goats together and to my left was the quiet, dark desert.
“Got time for something funny, Lela?” one of the Blends who went by the name of Aaron asked, skipping up to me.I looked at Aaron, he couldn’t be more than twelve years old but he was the life and soul of our little group and always had something witty to say.
His hair was shorter than mine but just as wild.
His skin was darker though and as rich in colour as the sticky flesh of a fresh date.
He looked like a pure Zjarrian and I failed to see a trace of the desert in him.
It was just his name that gave away who he really was and, by the look of things he fought his Brissan side all the time.
There were always rumours on the Wind of him getting into fights with the pure-blooded Brissan boys.“I’ve got all the time in the world!” I replied.“Here goes.
Why is Brissan music so hard to listen to?”“I’ve no idea,” I answered waiting for the punch line.“Because it’s out of dune.”I laughed because it was totally true.
The Brissans had no talent for music or singing or dancing come to think of it.
They were completely useless in areas of entertainment, unlike Aaron who laughed and did a little dance while he walked beside me.Smiling, I suddenly felt a small hand reach up for mine and I looked down at little Deeba who never left my side when we travelled.
She was almost asleep on her feet.
This journey was too demanding for someone so young and small.
She should be with her mother, I thought frowning.
But she was here now, here with me and that would have to do.
“Lela, sleep please,” she said in a tiny voice.
“Yes, time to sleep little one.”I picked her up and lifted her onto the saddle of my moving camel and tied her gently to the leather so she wouldn’t fall off and smiled as her glowing green eyes drifted off to sleep.We travelled for a further five nights and on the sixth day we reached the halfway stop, a small oasis that sat on the edge of the Semmi.
Once ages ago the abundance of food and water that the smaller oases provided would have been sufficient for the Clan who numbered in the hundreds.
Presently, the Clan’s numbers are in the thousands and their numbers continued to grow.
It’s seen as a symbol of prosperity but how can we prosper when we are starving to death?Well, none of the Blends would starve on my watch! I made sure every one of my fellow outcasts had a full water skin and I got hold of two bags of fresh dates and figs to sustain us.
The part of the desert we were about to travel through was brutal and everyone needed to be well-hydrated and fed.I was relieved when I heard that the plan was to cross the Semmi at night.
What I saw in front of me was the Wind Mother’s scorn.
The changing red dunes that I was familiar with had been pushed aside by flat, white sand and a rock-covered wasteland.
The shimmering heat had a way of playing tricks on the eyes here.
Everything looked the same and what you thought you saw in the end wasn’t really there.
It was a place of false promises and I hated the idea of being out here alone.
I knew the elements would simply pick me up, chew on me for a bit and then spit me out, leaving me to die in this dust bowl of hell.
Just to prove it was capable of doing these horrifying things, a cloud of dust whirled in the distance and I cringed at the very thought.It took the caravan three long nights to cross the dreaded white sands of the Semmi but, thankfully, we came out the other side of it unscathed.
Soon the red dunes became part of the landscape again along with something else, a huge mountains that could be seen in the faraway distance.
The mountains of Zjarri.
And beyond them, lay my fate.