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 want to see your elbows up and your backs straight.
This weapon needs to become a part of you.” Pilli instructed, walking behind us as we aimed at our targets.
“I know your bow is heavy but you’ll get used to it.
That’s the reason why you haven’t been allowed to put it down the whole day.”The many days of archery training that followed blended into one another and soon they became a blur before my eyes.
I had my bow in my hand from sunrise to sunset and a full quiver of arrows never left my side.
Soon I forgot about the adventure my soul had been screaming out for and instead began to concentrate on what was going on around me at this point in time.
Life in Askari was tough and in those first few days it threw many challenges my way.
I soon realized that I had become part of a plan.
A plan that was constantly fighting for the good and just in this world.
I felt like I was involved in something important for the first time in my life, something that was so much bigger than my tiny existence.
Our training exercises were difficult and testing but I caught on quickly and, soon, taking aim and shooting arrows accurately from various positions became something I could do in my sleep.
Kizza had made the right choice in deciding that I would train with the bow and arrow.
It felt right.
It felt natural.
It felt like I was born to be an archer.
The Zjarrian archers were made up of two hundred warriors at that time.
We were the men and women who rained arrows of fire down upon our enemies.
We took our positions behind the foot warriors and the bulls and their kabwas even though we were the ones responsible for delivering the first blow.
My arrows would hit the enemy dead in their tracks long before the other warriors could reach them and for that action alone, I was proud to call myself an archer.
The two hundred archers were split up into ten troops of twenty and each troop had it’s own leader.
Zjarrian warrior leaders are chosen on the basis of their skills, their character and their ability to lead in battle.
The influence of a strong, virtuous personality is what makes a strong troop and our leader, Pilli, was no exception.
She was the only female among the ten leaders but this didn’t stop her.
She was known as the best and she’d fought hard to achieve and maintain this title.
She was a ruthless, no-nonsense leader but it was her firm, determined spirit that drove her troop forward.
Our group of twenty trained hard and we started our days long before anyone else and finished well after everyone else was done for the day.I held Pilli in high regard and actually admired her but what I really liked about her was her openness.
She was easy to talk to and I knew this was one of the reasons why my fellow warriors and I decided not to complain when our days out in the hot sun seemed endless or when our training sessions finally broke our bodies and ripped our muscles apart.
We valued her and she respected us for this, a most unusual quality in a leader.
I knew that, if it came to it, she would die if it meant she could save each and every one of us.
Shooting arrows at targets wasn’t the only activity that filled our days.
Some of the troop trained in kabwas pulled by those ferocious bulls while the rest of us trained in small groups and mostly in pairs.
My bow wasn’t like the one I sometimes used for hunting back in the village.
It was made from a stronger, durable yet very flexible dark wood and came right up to my chest in height.
The bow string was made from heat-treated animal sinew and it was strong and capable when I pulled the bow back with all my strength.
It was, however the spiky metal blades that were attached to each end that made my bow really special! Ganya, the weaponsmith was the one who had come up with the idea.
Archers prove very useful in long-distance fighting but we are completely vulnerable when we meet our enemies face to face.
Shooting arrows at short distances makes no impact and it takes too long for an archer to drop his bow and draw his runga.
Consequently our bows have been created with a dual purpose in mind.
We use them for long-distance fighting for which they had originally been designed and, as a result of Ganya’s modifications, we are now able to use them like you would a panga in close-range combat.
The blades on the end of my bow are sharp and deadly and can easily stab or slice into an enemy if used correctly.
A lot of our training was dedicated to this style of fighting.
It was different to the panga training that Ayo did everyday.
Using a panga required a single hand but using a bow with both hands as a weapon came in handy as the weapon could be swung around and jabbed into a target.
“Don’t over think what you’re doing,” Pilli instructed one day.
“It doesn’t matter how you use your bow.
What does matter is that you have complete control over it.
I’ve trained you well.
Trust your heart and mind, they know what to do.
Over thinking your actions will result in a lowering of your defences.
This weakness will be detected by your enemy.” My sparring partner, Masego, and I had listened to what Pilli had said and we both agreed to give it a try.
Taking a deep breath I made the first move.
The movement was easy and I glided over the ground.
Our blades struck against each other and I tried not to think about what I was doing.
It took a little longer than I’d have liked but soon I had Masego on his back with a blade at his throat.
“You’re holding your bow too tightly, Kofi.
Relax, I can see you’re still thinking about it,” Pilli remarked.
She never gave compliments.
She believed they only made us overly confident and too much confidence would make us over-think what we were doing.
“Again,” she ordered.
I thought about what Pilli had said as Masego and I took our positions once more.
I loosened my grip on the bow a little and tried to think about something else.
Again our blades struck each other but, this time, I decided to try something different.
I caught Masego off balance with a big blow to his bow and quickly pulled his feet out from under him.
He fell to the ground and I had beaten him yet again but this time it felt natural.
I looked over to where Pilli was watching us and she nodded, quickly turning away to hide a smile.
“There’s a mission that’s scheduled for tomorrow morning and I’d like to send you on it,” Pilli said as I helped Masego to his feet.
“How would you feel about that?”I was surprised, I’d just arrived in Askari and I was barely into my second week of training yet she wanted to send me out on a mission! If I said ‘yes’ but sounded too eager then it would mean that I had far too much confidence for my own good but if I said ‘no’, then I wouldn’t be displaying enough confidence! It was all about showing the right amount of self-belief when it came to Pilli.
I looked her in the eye and realized that if I hesitated much longer, she would take it as a sigh of weakness.
I was eager though to display what I’d learnt and prove that I was ready for anything.“I’ll go, if you think I’m ready.” I said casually.“It’s not about what I think, Kofi.
You’re the only one who will know if and when you’re ready for a task like this.”My leader had caught me out yet again.“Anyway,” she continued, “It’s a routine mission that’s carried out every week so it’s nothing special.”“What’s the mission?” I asked eagerly, slinging my bow over my shoulders.“The fires on the boundary need to be replenished and a group is sent out to tend to them.
You’ll be part of a ten man, one bull, one cart team and your mission will be to clean and replenish all twelve fires with wood.
Do you think you can manage it?”It sounded far too easy in fact and I knew I could manage it without breaking into a sweat.
I was however a little disappointed.
I was hoping for a scouting mission.
I really wanted to see these desert savages for myself.
“Yes, it sounds like something I could do,” I said.“Good, but let me warn you, Kofi.
This is not the time for heroics.
Just get the job done and report back to me.
Be at the Centre Fire tomorrow at sunrise.”She turned to walk away but then she hesitated.
“And Kofi, whatever you do out there, don’t let me down.”I nodded, knowing how important success was to her no matter how simple the mission.I made sure I was at the Centre Fire just before sunrise the next day.
I was excited to be finally getting out of Askari and I wanted to make a good impression.
It was not only important to me but to Pilli too and I respected her far too much to let her down.
More warriors gradually started to gather around the fire that never went out as the sun touched the horizon.
They were chatting among themselves in a very casual fashion.
It was just like Pilli had said, a routine mission.
I tried to look as casual as my excitement would allow as I fiddled with my bow string when a man came over to me.
He was the same height as me but had a larger build even with the Fire-enhanced muscles that covered his body.
His black hair was long and braided into a couple of thick strands down his back while a neatly-trimmed beard covered his chin.
Running down the length of his right arm were a mass of cutting scars, symbols of bravery.
These scars usually meant the man behind them was fierce and mean.
The warrior in front of me smiled however and I could see kindness in his brown eyes.“You must be from Pilli’s troop? She’s told me all about you.
She says you’re a natural born archer.
Your name’s Kofi right?”“It is sir,” I said, thinking about what Pilli had told this man.
It made me feel great to be singled out for my skills among nineteen other archers.
“Get something straight, I may be leading this mission today but believe me I’m no sir.
Just call me Neoh.” I smiled, grasping his extended forearm.“Has Pilli filled you in on what we’ll be doing today?”“She has.
But do you think there’s a chance we’ll come into contact with any of the enemy?” I asked, raring to know.
Neoh laughed, “Take it easy warrior, your time will come to engage with those desert bastards, but there’s no chance of that today.
I’ve done this mission many times before and I haven’t run into any of those psychotic wind warriors so far.”“So we’re just going to tend to the fires? That’s it?” I asked, as Neoh pull on a leather-armoured vest just like the one my father wore.
Wearing one of these vests meant nothing when I really thought about it.
Many of the warriors around Askari wore them as I did my red scarf.
It was just another item of clothing.“That’s it, but stick with me and I’m sure you’ll have a good time.” Neoh grinned.He handed me a leather vest and my hopes went up a little.
“Put this on, it’s time you got used to wearing a vest anyway.
Wipe that stupid smile off your face while you’re at it.
Trust me, we’re not going to meet anyone special out on the dunes.”I removed my bow, loosened the strap that held my quiver in place and pulled the leather vest on as instructed.
I was surprised how well it fitted me despite it not being made for me.
It felt good against my skin and in that moment I felt like a real warrior! All I had to do now was get a pair of those well-fitted sandals that only the seasoned warriors wore and I would be fully equipped.
Looking up from admiring the metal-studded vest, I noticed that the warriors had started to leave and had almost left me behind.
I ran to catch up with them and stepped in beside Neoh.
Up ahead the bull pulled it’s laden cart easily over the rough terrain.
The cart was piled high with bundles of wood and, at the head of the cart, sat a contained fire.
Ready to re-ignite the fires, I presumed.We reached the first fire in just over an hour and I realized then that this was going to be another long day.
I was handed a large metal scoop and I followed Neoh’s lead as he approached the roaring fire and began to shovel out the ash.
The flames were blazing hot and I was soon dripping with sweat.
Once the fire bowl was clean, we stood back and another group threw logs into the flames.
We waited while they caught alight and then moved on to the next fire bowl.
This is how things went for the next eight fires bowls.
It was hard, boring work and I wished I’d stayed in Askari.
A long day of training would have been more enjoyable than this.
The last four fires were located in the dunes but there was a problem.
The bull and it’s cart were too heavy to move through the thick sand so we had to carry all our equipment and the piles of wood to the fires.
Remember when I said I was surprised that the leather vest had fitted me so well? Well, that was long before the fine desert sand started to mix with the sweat on my body.
The paste-like sand and the damp leather was chaffing me raw under my arms and the shovelling I was doing only made it worse.Just when I felt like giving up, a nice cool breeze started to blow over us.
It instantly lightened our spirits and soon everyone was laughing and chatting around me and things didn’t feel so bad after all.
While shovelling out my hundredth scoop of ash I realized that it wasn’t such a bad thing that I wouldn’t get to meet any of the Brissans just yet.
Being a warrior wasn’t all about the fighting, there were other things around the camp that needed to be done and tending the fires was one of them.I started talking to Neoh and he asked me about my family back home in Khaya when suddenly the cooling breeze picked up and before my eyes turned into a gale wind.
“We need to move quickly, we all know how swiftly these winds can turn!” Neoh shouted above the whistling of the wind.
We shovelled faster then quickly gathered up our equipment but it was too late.
The gale had turned the desert into a sandstorm.
The force of the wind had sucked up large quantities of sand and it started to whirl around us.
Soon I couldn’t see in front of me and I lost sight of the rest of the group.
The sand was stinging my eyes and I moved around blindly searching for the rest of the warriors.
I needed to find them!Hearing faint voices over the wailing wind, I followed the sound until I came upon a group of men.
They had their backs to me so I called out to them and when they turned, I realized that they weren’t my fellow warriors.
These men weren’t even Zjarrian.
They were dressed from head-to-toe in flowing white robes.
Their faces were covered and only black rimmed eyes could be seen protruding from their head scarves.
They didn’t seem to be affected by the flying sand at all.
Instead, the men stared at me while they slowly pulled long thick blades out from their robes.
They were made from an almost transparent material and I swallowed hard at the sight of them.
I needed to get out of here and fast! These men looked angry and in no mood for talking.
I turned and made my way as fast as I could through the sand which in some places, came right up to my knees, all the while hearing angry voices right behind me, yelling in a language I couldn’t understand.
They were chasing me, but the yelling and screaming seemed to be getting further away.
I kept on moving as fast as I could feeling the energy slowly draining from my body.
I began to feel limp and glanced down to see that my body had lost all it’s Fire muscle.
Trying to ignore what was happening to me, I kept one goal in mind.
I needed to find the others.
Just then, in front of me, I made out a makeshift shelter made from red Zjarrian fabric.
I then heard Neoh screaming out to me.
I couldn’t make out what he was saying but I ran straight for the shelter and dived into it.
The wind stopped and I could see once more.“We thought we’d lost you,” Neoh said, as he reached into his bag for a bunch of dry twigs and a single piece of wood.
He then started a fire by striking his nails together.
I felt my energy coming back in slow waves.
Ayo was right about the fires and the essential power they give us.Finally, I caught my breath and I was about to tell Neoh who I had met out in the storm when a three-sided blade came flying out of nowhere, ripping into our shelter.“What the hell was that?” one of the other warriors yelled.Neoh picked the weapon up and turned it over in his hands.
Well, Kofi, you said you wanted to see some action, well, here’s your chance.
Stay close!” Neoh ran out of the shelter just as a bunch of Brissan warriors came running out of the sandstorm towards us.
They seemed to be a lot faster than was humanly possible as they flew through the air.
We were clearly out-numbered as countless three-sided blades whipped though the air.
I ran out of the shelter and grabbed my bow, leaving my arrows in their quiver.
Aiming and shooting an arrow in this wind would be impossible.
I couldn’t see who was around me and the last thing I wanted to do was shoot one of my people.Panicking, I searched the men looking for Neoh, when unexpectedly, an enemy warrior came out of nowhere, screaming as he ran towards me.
He held a sword in each hand and had a look of terror in his eyes.
I held my bow up like I had practised, ready to take the blow which bore down on me with a powerful force.
I tried to deflect it but the force knocked me back and I fell into the sand.
Suddenly, the man was on top of me.
Up close his body released an acidic odour and his white robe was covered with sweat.
He placed a hand firmly around my throat, holding me down as he drew a small dagger from his belt.
I knew that I was going to die but I felt that I needed to do one last thing before this desert beast finished me off.
I needed to see his face! I needed to see the man who was about to kill me.
Somehow I managed to pull the scarf down from his face.
By his reaction he was just as surprised as I was when I saw his face.
The man had an oily face which was covered with a thick, black beard.
His teeth were worn and stained brown which explained his stinking breath.
I looked into his green eyes as he raised the blade ready to slit my throat.
Without warning, a shout came from behind me in a language I could understand.
It was Neoh but not the same Neoh I had met earlier that day.
He had lost almost all of his Fire-enhanced body mass.
This didn’t stop him and he fought like he still had it, dispatching the Brissan warrior quickly with a stab to the chest.
The warrior fell back onto the red sand, the life leaving his eyes.
“Come, Kofi, we have to help the others!” Neoh, yelled pulling me up onto my feet.
I felt something warm trickling down my left arm as we ran though the storm.
Touching it I held my hand up to my face.
I shuddered when I realized it was blood and then it was as though my brain had connected with my body for the first time as unreal pain shot through me.
The Brissan’s blade must have wounded me without my even feeling it.
Suddenly all the Fire left my body and I felt everything.
The pain in my arm, the pressure on my throat, my dry mouth and my racing heart.
The world around me was starting to spin out of control when I felt a sharp pain connecting with my jaw.
It was Neoh.
Had he just punched me? “Pull yourself together! You look like a gazelle that’s been chased by a lion.
You are the lion, remember that! The Fire still burns inside you!”My whole body was in pain now but Neoh was right, I had to stay focussed.
I lurched forward into the storm beside him once more.
Shortly thereafter we came across bodies lying in the sand.
The sand around them was a darker shade of red, stained with blood.
Some of the dead were Brissans but most of them were Zjarrian.
“Stay sharp, Kofi, these bastards have a knack for hiding in the sand.
This isn’t over yet,” Neoh said trying to look past the bodies of his Zjarrian brothers.Our bodies had now returned to their original state, the energy of Zjarr having completely left us.
The bull and the cart carrying the contained fire was nowhere to be seen and starting a fire in this wind would be impossible.We managed instead, to support each other as we stood back-to-back, holding our weapons ready to fight.
The sand and wind continued to whirl around us for a long time but nothing appeared from it’s midst.
I felt Neoh’s tense muscles relaxing slightly against my back.
Blood was pouring down my arm by this stage and dripping into the sand around me.
All I wanted to do was to go home when Neoh spoke those very words of hope into my ear.“I think it’s clear.” Just as he said that, a three-sided blade whipped though the air and went straight into his neck.
I felt Neoh fall behind me as I quickly dived down to help him.
The weapon had lodged itself deep into the side of his neck and blood was collecting in a pool around the wound.
I had no idea what to do so I stood behind him and tried to pull his body through the sand.
“Stop,” Neoh pleaded as blood dribbled down the side of his mouth.
I let him go and reached out for his hand which he grasped with all the life he had left in him.
He looked at me and as his eyes began to glaze over, he uttered a single word, “Run!”I ran my bloody hand over his lifeless eyes then straightened up and did as I’d been told.
The storm was still raging around me and I had no sense of direction.
Was I making my way towards Zjarri or deeper into Brissa? I prayed it was towards home.
Not long after the storm died down around me and Askari came into view.
I ran towards the camp but tripped and fell on the hard Zjarrian ground.
Tears escaped my eyes as I realized that I was safe at last.
I forced myself to my feet and ran blindly onwards.
I didn’t see the warriors as I ran passed and their voices of concern were echoes until a strong hand reached out and held me still.“Kofi, Kofi, what happened?”It was Pilli.I fell down again but this time stayed there, unable to move.
The energy of Zjarr slowly returned to me as I managed to get a few words past my dry throat.“Brissan ambush! Everyone is dead.
Neoh is dead,” I gulped, as the darkness consumed me.I woke up lying on a grass mat in an unfamiliar place.
I looked up and saw I was beneath a simple fabric shelter.
I heard the wind rustling through a marula tree nearby.
I tried to lift my head to have a look around but it was pounding and I could only see properly out of one eye.
I tried to roll over and raise myself into some kind of a sitting position.
It was then that I felt it, a stabbing pain in my left arm.
I looked down and saw that the bloody gash had been bandaged with a stretch of clean cloth.
My confusion was brief as the images of what had happened out in the dunes came flooding back to me.
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to erase them from my mind but it was a waste of time.
What I had seen would stay with me forever.
“How are you feeling, Brother?” It was Ayo.
“It feels like one of those bulls has trampled all over me.” I winced, feeling another sharp pain, this time in my ribs.“Well, that’s to be expected, just take it easy.” he advised as I tried to get to my feet.Immediately, I felt dizzy and lost my balance falling down on the hard ground.
I gritted my teeth against the pain but a moan escaped my lips nonetheless.Ayo sat down next to me and handed me a full drinking horn.
I took a long drink, letting the cool water soothe my parched throat.
He then handed me a piece of fresh flatbread which I wolfed down, ignoring the pain of swallowing.
“So many died out there and it’s all my fault.
If I hadn’t become separated from the group when the sandstorm hit, none of this would have happened.”“It’s done and there’s nothing you can do to change it, so don’t blame yourself,” Ayo said.
“I don’t understand it, how does a routine mission go so wrong so quickly? One moment we were cleaning out a fire and the next a huge sandstorm hit and we got lost in it.” I shook my head.
Looking into the distance I saw a figure storming over towards us.
It was my father.“What the hell happened out there?” he demanded, his face clouded over with rage.I proceeded to tell him and Ayo every last detail of what had unfolded out there on the dunes while my father paced back and forth, clearly impatient for me to get to the end of my story.
“Who was your mission leader?” he grunted.“Neoh.”“Well, that explains everything! The mission was doomed to fail even before it began.
That boy was a useless warrior with no discipline and no respect for our cause!”“Neoh saved my life!” I shouted.
“Have some respect for those who lost their lives out there.” “I have the mind to strip you of the dignity you have left and to send you back to your mother in shame! You should have stayed out there and fought to the bitter end! Dying alongside those warriors that would have been the Zjarrian thing to do.
Instead you come running back like a coward.
You have shamed me boy!”So my dying would have brought him pride and that would have meant more to him than my life! “What would you have me do?”“The right thing.
We never run from our enemies, we make a stand and we fight.”“But I would have died!”“Perhaps.
But you would have died with honour.
Instead you have chosen to live in shame for deserting your fellow warriors.”“But there was no one else alive and Neoh ordered me to run!”“No one else alive? Well then who is this?” Baba said pointing to an unconscious man lying on a grass mat close to me.I recognized him and my heart sank.
I had left someone behind.
But I hadn’t been able to see in the storm and I hadn’t heard anyone calling for help.
“You weren’t out there and you have no idea what I saw,” I said.“If all of this is too hard for you boy, I suggest you go home, back to Khaya! That’s where you belong.” “I was following orders!” I exclaimed.
“Were you really following orders or were you just acting on cowardly instinct? That’s what you need to ask yourself and the answer will live with you for the rest of your life!” Baba bellowed with discontent.
I looked up at him and felt ashamed.
Ashamed that this man was my father.
Ashamed that he could even think such things.
I lay down again, feeling the darkness pulling me back.
I didn’t want to hear anymore of what he had to say.
He turned his back on me, walking away.
“Come Ayo, you should be preparing.”“Preparing for what?“ Ayo asked, staying right where he was.
My father turned his head and looked at us both.
“For war!” he roared.