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.
It was late in the day when the first of my father’s people began to arrive at the oasis.
I was eager to join them, the journey had been long and tiresome and I couldn’t wait to put my feet up and rest for a while.
Walking over the last of the dunes, the oasis slowly came into my view.
The excitement in my stomach sank however when I saw what was waiting for me wasn’t what I had been expecting.
When we usually arrived en masse at an oasis that had had sufficient time to regenerate, we were met with a cool, clean pool of water which came to the surface from deep down in the earth.
Surrounding the water would be lush, green palm trees laden with sweet, succulent dates.
The area around the oasis often proved to be very fertile and large shady fig trees, olive trees and wheat fields together with small animals thrived around the much needed change in landscape.
Beneath these trees and palms grew tender patches of grass and together with the cool breezes that swept over the water, they made the perfect spot to rest beneath and doze off for a while after a long day.
Oh, and sometimes, if our Wind Mother was being kind, we would find bees busy at work, making sweet, sticky honey - a gift that is a treasured treat for children and adults alike.
The oases are regarded as havens from the arid, empty wasteland we travel through.
They help my father’s people overcome the tough times and it gives them hope and the courage they need to move forward.
Plainly put, the oases are miracles in the desert.
This expected scene of tranquillity and rest was not what I was greeted with this time.
I had been expecting the buzzing sound of bees and the breeze gently rustling through the palm fronds but was instead, met with the wailing sounds of great pain and loss.
Leaving my travelling companions at the back of the caravan, I pulled my camel along ahead of then in order to have a better look.
Upon arrival I noticed that the lush, green palms of my memory were burnt to a crisp, the dates which had fallen had been charred and trampled into the sand around them.
The grass had also been burnt and what was left was a land as barren as the one from which we had just escaped.
My eyes darted around in confusion and then it hit me.
The smell of rot and decay.
A dead camel had fallen into the pool of water, contaminating it.
Around the ruined resource, lay bodies bearing the off-white robes of the Clan.
The corpses were baking in the sun and I almost vomited at the smell, reaching up to cover my mouth and nose with my scarf.
I saw that some of the warriors had survived whatever had happened here.
The decent thing for them to do would have been to drag the corpses away from the oasis.
However that would be against Brissan custom.
The dead are left where they fall to be absorbed over time by the sand and wind of this harsh land.
Treading carefully over the charred plant life and the corpses, I spotted weapons scattered on the sand.
One caught my eye, a long curved blade.
I’d only seen one of these well-crafted weapons once before but I knew who it belonged to in an instant.
What lay before me could only be explained in one word - war.
War between Brissa and Zjarri.
A war between my father’s people and those of my mother.The sun slipped quickly below the dunes after that but the lack of light didn’t stop the chaos that surrounded me.
The Clan was consumed with grief.
Many of our men had fallen in the war and I wasn’t sure if my father was still alive, not that I cared.
Even so the Clan grieved over something even more precious - the destroyed oasis.
The miracle source of life had been taken from us as we found ourselves in the desert once more.
Suddenly, my plans changed.I knew I had to take what had happened here as a sign.
I had to make my escape in the chaos.
Slipping away in the dead of night into a land I knew nothing about wasn’t nearly as exciting as escaping with the rising sun but I had no idea if another chance like this one would come along anytime soon, if at all.
I needed to slip away quickly and quietly so I waited and watched those around me for a while.
Everyone including my auntie, was too busy wailing or sorting through the charred fruit to notice me.
I looked up and thanked Briss for the clouds she had sent me, covering the bright light of the waning moon.
The darkness and the chaos would make my escape a little easier.
I grabbed hold of my camel’s lead and together we slowly blended into the shadows of the night.
Bringing my camel along with me had been a last minute decision.
She might come in handy, she was carrying all my things after all and I wasn’t about to leave anything behind.
We walked in silence for a long time, which surprised me because my camel usually never stopped snorting or grunting.
I looked over my shoulder a few times as we made our way over the dunes my heart pounding in my chest but I didn’t see anyone following us.
Eventually the thick sand beneath my feet turned to gravel and fine strands of grass began to brush against my legs and arms.
I stopped and looked over my shoulder one last time.
Satisfied that it was safe, I looked to the new landscape around me.
I thanked my Brissan genes and the good night vision that came with it.
Without it, I would have been blind.
The grass we made our way though was long and brushed my shoulders.
Craning my neck, I could just make out a cluster of trees in the distance.
I planned to make my way over to them.
They would possibly make a good place for us to rest for the night.
It was what I couldn’t see that was really worrying me though.
The sounds of this foreign land were loud, terrifying and right in my ears.
The desert was silent by comparison.
Insects chirped and rustled in the grass around me while wild animals roared, laughed and yelped in the distance making me walk even faster to the cluster of trees.
My heart was pounding again while my travelling companion on the other hand, was completely unconcerned by the noises in the dark and I had to pull on the beast’s lead to get her to move with some purpose.I sighed deeply upon reaching my planned destination.
The hard ground under the leafy trees was bare.
This would give me a wide berth from the tall concealing grass that surrounded me.
I tied the camel’s lead to the trunk of one of the trees and huddled down against the rough bark of another to wait for the sun to rise.
I tried to block out the sounds around me and, as I did so, a realization crept into my mind.
I was all on my own.
The escape I had been dreaming of had finally happened.
This new path I would be walking down was real and I was scared to death by it.
I didn’t have a plan, all I knew was that I needed to get to Joro in one piece.
I needed to find the Four and time was the one thing I didn’t have.
I woke up with a start, quickly coming out of a strange dream.
In the dream I was trying to pull the dead camel out of the water at the oasis back in the desert.
I pulled and pulled to no avail while trying to ignore my own camel’s snorts of laughter.
My eyes were still half-closed when I reach up to shake the sand from my hair like I did every morning and was amazed when there wasn’t any.
I smiled, not sorry to see that the morning ritual had vanished from my life forever.
I took a deep breath of the cool, fresh morning air instead.
It felt amazing to be able to breathe without sand stinging my throat.
Rising slowly to my feet I looked around, observing my mother’s homeland for the first time.
Back in Brissa I preferred to sleep in until mid-morning, I never saw the point of getting up early.
My thoughts against waking up so early in the day disappeared however when I saw what was waiting for me.
My first ever sunrise.
What lay before me was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen.
The purple and blue-edged sky was streaked with vibrant red, orange and white.
In the centre of all this colour, I watched as a brighter, stronger, orange-yellow ball grew larger and climbed up into the cloudless sky.
Tearing my gaze away from the sun, I took in the land before me.
Everything was green and alive.
Huge leafy trees dotted the grass plains for as far as I could see and the land was alive with animals I had never seen before.
Not far from where I stood, I saw a tall, long-necked sort of camel that was elegantly grazing on the leaves on the high branches while the same trees were filled with birds of all shapes, sizes and colours.
I sighed and breathed deeply once again.
This time my nose was filled with the most wondrous scents and smells.
It must have been the raw earth beneath my feet, the trees around me and the tall grass before me.
The smells of Zjarri I thought and smiled again.
I imagine this is how my mother would have smelt.I felt at ease in this place.
Did it feel like home though? I’m not really sure.
Something inside me had changed however and I liked how terrific it felt.
Even my camel had slotted effortlessly into the strange landscape.
She had broken free from the tree that I had tied her to and was now contentedly grazing on the plentiful grass.
I’m sure she hadn’t seen so much food in all her life.
Thinking about food, I hadn’t any with me.
I’d eaten the last of my dates days ago, expecting to stock up at the lush and abundant oasis but as we all know, things hadn’t gone according to plan.
I looked around for something that was edible but nothing looked familiar and I didn’t want to take the chance of becoming ill.
Something I recognized was bound to show up so I pushed my hunger aside as I had been forced to do many times in my life and looked to the mountain range that lay in front of me instead.
Joro lay beyond the mountains but finding the correct route was going to be difficult.
Walking in its general direction seemed like a good enough plan for now.
Out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly saw something move in the tall grass.
Thinking it was a dangerous animal that had come to feast on my skinny bones, I jumped back in alarm.
It was only then that I saw that the animal was not an animal at all but a man.
He navigated the tall grass with ease, running through it swiftly.
Suddenly the man in question stopped dead in his tracks and looked over to where I was standing.
Dropping my eyes I moved to hide among the trees.
Surely he hadn’t spotted me? I looked up to confirm this and couldn’t believe that he was moving towards me.
I clicked my tongue at my stupidity.
Of course he had seen me.
I was such a fool! I was standing out in the open after all.Very slowly, as if stalking his prey, the man emerged from the grass.
I held my breathe, blocking out the smell of fear that was pouring off my body.
If I could smell it, then well so could he.
The man was obviously Zjarrian from his appearance and complexion.
Yet it was the kindness in his eyes that made me relax a little.
He must have been a warrior from the looks of the armoured vest he was wearing.
Was he running towards a war or away from one that had recently happened? Curiously and shamelessly I might add, I continued to look at his appearance when I spotted the array of weapons about his person.
A short, bone-handled blade, a quiver of sharp, glistening arrows, a bow with spikes on each end and a very able looking wooden staff.
I couldn’t believe it! I’d been in Zjarri for less than a day and this was how it was going to end! This warrior was definitely going to kill me, there was no question about it.
I was a Brissan strolling though Zjarrian territory.
I was the enemy even if I was a Blend.
Reaching for the dagger secured to my belt, I held it up ready to defend myself, not knowing how this would pan out.
My fighting skills were non-existent.The warrior pulled his blade out and I swallowed deeply as it shone in the light.
He didn’t move to attack me though.
Instead and to my utter surprise, he tossed the blade along with the rest of his weapons aside.
He stretched his hands out in front of him as he walked slowly towards me.
I dropped my weapon too as a sign of surrender but that could have also been the result of my hand shaking.
I was terrified.
I watched, too stunned to react as he reached out and gently covered my creamy brown hands with his ebony ones.
The colour of our flesh mingled in a beautiful contrast and I looked up to see a wide smile on his face.
His teeth were very white and in good condition, unlike mine which were yellow and worn down by a lifetime of eating everything with a side of sand.
Still holding my hands in his, the warrior gently pulled me back beneath the protective shade of the trees.
I sat down heavily, still not sure what to make of him when he spoke.
I couldn’t understand what he was saying but his words had a smooth rhythm to them and they sounded rich and rounded on his tongue, until a click followed one of his questions.
My eyes grew wide at the strange sound.
The man smiled again before letting out a huge laugh.
I laughed along with him, my fear fading away completely.
The Zjarrian warrior spoke again but this time I understood him perfectly.
He was speaking Gaian, a travellers’ and traders’ language that was a mixture of Brissan, Zjarrian, Joran and Waian.
I picked up a few of the words of it when I was young but quickly became fluent talking to the Keepers everyday and it was as effortless to speak as my native Brissan.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the warrior said, dropping my hands as he reached for his drinking horn.
He offered it to me and I wasted no time drinking deeply from it.
Sitting back on his heels he looked at me with dark brown eyes that danced with curiosity.
I chose this time to introduce myself.
I thought about saying, ‘Hello, my name’s Lela, thanks for not killing me’ but thought better of it and stuck to the customary Gaian greeting.
“Greetings to you my friend, my name is Lela.”He smiled at the sound of my voice.
“Greetings, my friend, I’m honoured to meet you.
My name is Kofi,” he stated, covering his heart with his right hand.He looked me over for a long time after that, tilting his smooth head from left to right.
I was starting to feel uncomfortable when he stood up to his full height which was about a head taller than me and approached my camel.
“I’ve heard these animals can go without water for many moons,” he said running his hand down the hind legs of the beast.“That’s true.
Camels store water in the hump you see there under the saddle.” I said, surprised that she didn’t kick him.“That’s truly unbelievable! I don’t think we have anything like a camel in Zjarri.
Do you ride on top of this animal when you travel like I have seen your people do?”“They are not my people!” I blurted out, instantly sorry for my outburst.Kofi looked out over the plain giving me a moment to recover myself then he picked up his weapons and placed them in the shade along with a roll of fabric and a grass mat.
Holding onto his wooden staff he walked over to me.“I know,” Kofi shrugged, leaning on the staff, not in the least bit affected by my outburst.
“I can see the Fire in you.
Don’t be afraid to let it out.
You’re in your mother’s land now and only good can come of it.”I frowned.
“How do you…”“How do I know you are Zjarrian on your mother’s side? The beads you wear on your wrists are the ones worn by the young unmarried women of my people.”I looked down at the beads in a new light.
They had belonged to my mother.
She had left her home for a life in the dunes when she was young and unmarried.“Are you hungry?” Kofi asked.“I could eat,” I answered casually, even though given half a chance I’d probably be able to devour the hind legs right off my camel!“Good.
I’ll be back soon.”He gathered up his bow and a couple of arrows and disappeared into the tall grass.
I sat where I was, not sure what else to do but wait for the warrior to return.
A little while later the grass started to move again.
Keeping still, I looked around for my dagger.
Spotting it nearby, I knew I could reach it in time should a wild animal leap out at me.
I didn’t need to however, the movement was just Kofi.
He emerged with two small dead skinned animal carcasses in one hand, some wood in the other and a wide smile on his face.
He had strong open features that sat handsomely on his face.
Other than his armoured vest, he wore a pair of hide crop-pants and a red scarf just like mine, wrapped casually around his shoulders and on his feet were worn hide-sandals.
It was, however, the muscles that rippled through his bare arms and legs that attracted my eye and I caught myself blushing at the thought of how appealing I found his appearance and his easy attitude.
Fascinated by his every move, I watched as he placed the dead animals in the fork of a tree and then the way he assembled the wood on the ground.
Having gathered some dry leaves too he placed them on top of the wood.
The next part is where things became really interesting.
Bending down low, he placed his hands near the leaves and with the blackened nails of his little fingers struck them against one another, resulting in an orange spark.
The spark caused the leaves to burst into small flames.
Kofi then blew on the flames and they ignited the wood.
I stood up amazed, at what I had just witnessed.
How it was possible that he had just made a fire by using his fingers, when my father’s people had never mastered that simple feat? The Clan relied upon the hot desert sun to dry the little salted meat they ate.
My questions had to wait though as Kofi started giving me instructions as he set the skewered meat over the fire.
“You see my bag over there?” I nodded, walking over to it.
“You’ll find a small sack in it, together with a cup and a pot.
Bring them to the fire along with the drinking horn.”Doing as he asked, I setting the bundle of items down next to him.
“Have you had kava before?” he enquired as he placed the pot filled with water near the fire.“No, is it some kind of drink?” I asked.“Some kind of drink? You have a lot to learn about your mother’s people,” he laughed, shaking his head.“My mother died when I was born.” I said, clicking my tongue.
“I was brought up by the Brissan Clan and the only connection I have with my mother are her beads and this scarf.” I finished pointing to the red scarf that I wore wrapped around my neck and shoulders.
The smile on Kofi’s face faded and was replaced by a serious look of regret and concern.
“Please know that I’m sorry for my rash words.
It was stupid and selfish of me not to think that your mother may not be here to walk these lands anymore.” “Do you think I’d be in this position if my mother was still alive! Do you think I’d be running away!” I wished, at that moment, that I could take my words back, they were harsh and cruel and completely unnecessary.
What was wrong with me? Kofi went back to the sizzling meat, not pressing me further.Zjarrians were nothing like the people the Clan had described, I realized.
They told stories of ill-tempered, hideous savages with terrifying frowns and permanent snarls on their faces.
Rather if Kofi was a good example of his people as I’m sure he was, I saw a fiery people with passionate hearts.
These hearts were also compassionate and gentle and I hoped all these traits were somewhere deep inside of me and that they just needed time to surface.
I hated myself for behaving like a Brissan.
Their ugliness, insensitive and vicious nature were on display before this man who had shown me nothing but kindness.
“I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you, Kofi.
You’ve showed me so much kindness and I thank you.” The pot of water was now boiling and Kofi poured a black grainy substance into it.
He stirred it with a stick and sat back on his heels again.
“There’s nothing to be sorry about.
I can see that you are caught between two worlds and that you are struggling.
Would it be right to say that you despise your Brissan heritage?”I nodded.“Well then, there’s nothing to be concerned about.
The Fire burns inside you.
You are home.
All you have to do is trust yourself and Zjarr will show you the way.”I nodded again, blinking back tears that stung my eyes.
“Come let’s eat,” he said with a smile.The roasted meat tasted delicious and I had to stop myself from wolfing it down.
Kofi, on the other hand, ate slowly, enjoying every morsel.
He stopped in between mouthfuls and poured the hot water which had now turned black and thick in consistency into the tiny cup.
He then handed it to me with both hands which were a little greasy.
Taking the cup with equally greasy fingers I brought it up to my lips.
The hot liquid entered my mouth and I was hit with flavours I had never tasted before.
The kava, as Kofi called it, was acidic yet nutty and robust on my tongue and both smooth and warming as it slid down my throat.
There were still flavours I had no words for and thinking that a second sip might resolve this, I held the cup to my lips again and drained the rest of it.Kofi laughed as I handed the cup back to him, “I knew you would like it!”He poured himself a cup and drained it in one go before refilling it and handing it back to me.
I sipped it slowly and this time savoured the flavour.
“I hope I’m not holding you up in anyway?”Kofi looked at me confused.“I mean, before you stopped this morning you looked as though you were in a hurry to go somewhere.”Kofi threw the bones he had been nibbling on into the fire.
He took a deep breath, considering his words.
“Like you, I too am running away.”I sat back surprised as he took the tiny cup from me and filled it again, sipping thoughtfully on the hot liquid.
“You were in the war that’s just taken place, weren’t you?” I asked.He looked down at the vest that covered his chest as though he had forgotten he was wearing it.
“I was,” he nodded, pulling the vest off over his head.
It was only then that I noticed the fresh pink scar that ran down the length of his arm.
“This,” Kofi said, pointing to the scar, “happened before the war but it was actually the cause of it.
Before the war, my life was very different.
I was simply a village boy with huge dreams that's all, but then, my brother Ayo, convinced me to join him at the border.
I went with very little hesitation.
The thought of becoming a Zjarrian warrior excited me and, for once, I knew that I could be a part of something great.
I enjoyed the training and made many friends.
Everything was going well until I was sent on a mission and the group I was with came across a couple of Brissan men.
Only two Zjarrian warriors out of ten survived the conflict that followed.
I was one of them and I lost a good friend that day.” He took another sip of kava before continuing.“What happened next was due to my survival.
My father happens to be the leader of the Zjarrian warriors and he declared war on the Brissans to avenge the fallen and the son he had almost lost.
These thoughts of vengeance, however, weren’t my father’s primary goal.
A victory was the only thing on his mind and it was his ego that really motivated him.
In short, too many lives on both sides were lost in the battle and it was all in vain because of the impulsive, foolish actions of one man.
My brother died in my arms that day and he made me promise that I would leave Zjarri and find something worth fighting for.
That’s what I was going to do when I spotted you this morning, I was leaving as I had promised.” Kofi wiped the tears from his eyes without shame and looked into the dwindling fire.“You’re very brave.” I said softly, reaching out to touch his arm.
“So are you,” Kofi replied, with a weak smile.We sat with our own thoughts for a while when Kofi turned to me, “So what are your plans? You can’t sit under these trees forever you know, even though I’m sure you could manage it.”I laughed.
“Of course I couldn’t.
I plan to make my way over the mountains and into Joro.”“Why Joro?”“No reason,” I answered cautiously.Kofi nodded, not pressing me any further.
“Well, you’re in luck because I’m on my way there too! It’s always been a dream of mine to see the sun rise in all the lands and now I have the chance.
We could travel together if you choose?”I considered his offer carefully.
Despite enjoying Kofi’s company, I didn’t know him and besides my goal was to find the Four and I didn’t have the time for sightseeing.
He’d only slow me down.“Thank you for the offer, Kofi, but I think I’ll go alone.
Like you said, I need to trust myself and Zjarr will show me the way.”“If that’s what you want then I support your decision,” Kofi said, getting to his feet.He emptied the rest of the kava out over the fire and walked over to his belongings.
He put the armoured vest back on again and secured his weapons.
Soon he was ready to leave and I admit I was a little taken aback that he was leaving so quickly.
“Good luck on your journey, Lela,” Kofi smiled.
“I appreciate the time we’ve spent together, it was a pleasure to meet you and I thank Zjarr for our fortunate meeting.”He looked me over one last time before heading off into the tall grass.“I, um.
Perhaps we’ll meet again along the way?”“Perhaps,” Kofi replied, lifting his hand and waving goodbye.