For those of you that are [blissfully] unaware of its existence, I would like to take a few moments to introduce you to one Nancy Stouffer’s
most notorious work of fiction, The Legend of RahTM and the MugglesTM.
((Keep in mind that this is the cover from the ‘edited’ version of the book, as that’ll be important in a minute here.))
Does one of these words look familiar? If you haven’t been living under a proverbial rock for the past few years, then it definitely should look familiar to you. This… ‘children’s book’, for lack of a better term, was first published in the year 1984 [by “N.K. Stouffer’s” own company, no less], a full thirteen years before J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series came out and took the world by storm; and also just so happened to use the word “muggles”, to refer to individuals who lack any natural magical talents [in other words, regular humans]. In TLoRatM, however, “Muggles” [note the capitalized M here] refer to three-foot-tall, radioactive, completely bald, big-headed, possibly-magical, babyish creatures that make up the main bulk of the cast, and were simply descended from regular humans [apparently, in her story, there was some kind of nuclear fallout, and while some people escaped, others were left behind, and over the course of only 500 years became these things…? I don’t know, I didn’t write it, don’t ask me].
((Horrifying, aren’t they.))
Well, after Stouffer’s book was published and sold a grand total of zero copies, never made it to any bookshelves outside of the United States [somewhere Rowling decidedly does not live and never even visited until long after the first few books of her own series were out], and was immediately swept under the rug by consumers who hated it and companies that weren’t making money off of it, she of course got very upset when Rowling’s books exploded into popularity and also just-so happened to include the term “muggles”. This quickly led to Stouffer filing a [baseless] lawsuit against Rowling, and, as it turns out, to her even using fraudulent documents to try and support her case. Long story short, Stouffer was fined $50,000 for being so envious and spiteful over a book series that was in no way related to her own “series” [that died with the very first book], and decided to make it her mission to “prove” how Rowling “stole her ideas” by changing her name on the cover to N.K. Stouffer, and editing TLoRatM so that it used the word “Muggle” far more times than it ever had in the first publishing.
The point of this is, this book is crap, its author is crap, and I want to try my own hand at writing it.
Because I’m either stupid or just like certain tropes to what could be considered an unhealthy degree [or both], there were some elements of TLoRatM that I ended up legitimately enjoying, and it was those elements alone that made me feel so awful for certain characters’ [*cough* Zyn’s *cough*] predicaments and how Stouffer handled them in general that I got an itching to try and ‘fix it up’, in a sense.
Now, since I really don’t want to have a contrived lawsuit on my own hands [I honestly wouldn’t put it past Stouffer to do that], there are of course a few things that I’ll have to change about the story; for instance, how the world works, the names of certain characters/creatures [I’ll be using “Aurians” instead of Muggles, and they also won’t be tiny baby-gremlins, so don’t worry about that], and anything else that I feel needs a major make-over while I’m going along.
Whether or not I’ll be able to retain enough interest in this little project to keep it going for more than one or two chapters, though, remains to be seen: I usually end up hopping from big idea to big idea on a daily/weekly basis, and so I’ll eventually either end up dropping this in its entirety, or just spreading it out amongst anything else that I decide to pick up and start writing.
((Real quick, before we begin with the prologue here, let me just cut in to say that if you dear readers would like to know a little [or a lot] bit more about Stouffer’s TLoRatM, I would recommend that you check out Zelda_Queen’s Sporking of it, these two in-depth reviews, and the “Real MugglesTM” website made by Stouffer herself))
Now, let’s get this story rolling!!
Their world was dying.
In the land of Aura, nighttime was an everlasting presence; for as long as any of the eldest creatures could remember, the sun had never before graced the land with light for any longer than dawn and twilight lasted. Every “day” – or passing, as the Aurians called it – when the sun would first rise above the Deep Sea’s distant horizon, a sudden storm would burst forth from the heavens and devour the sky above them. Until dusk it would remain, sporadically drenching the earth with water and lightning and tearing the western mountains apart at their very peaks: before the sunset would chase it back into oblivion, and let the peaceful air of night descend upon Aura once more.
As the centuries passed, animal and plant species alike began to dwindle, gradually dying off one by one until only those that were able to adapt remained. Of the land-walkers, there were primarily only creatures who dug burrows, or otherwise had found a way to shield themselves from the storm’s onslaught: of the flyers, there were mostly scavengers and hunters, or birds that generally made their nests on the ground: of the flora, there were trees that had thickened their bark to the consistency of rock, plants that had learned to hide their delicate leaves in the presence of danger, and glowing fungi that fed off the energy left behind by the decaying remains of other life forms. Each different species together had learned how to best weather Aura’s age of darkness, and discovered their own ways to use the few minutes of sunlight to their best advantage.
But, of the sentient beings – of the mammals that could walk upright on two legs and had long since developed their own civilization underground – there were the Aurians.
Out of everything else that lived upon Aurian soil, they were the only ones to have written records of a time before the endless nights, where life had thrived and the sun shone every day of the year. They were the only ones to construct buildings, to dig giant interconnecting tunnels deep beneath the surface of Aura and fill them with homes and caverns for public social gatherings. They had an entire culture based upon the foundation of their history and their adoration for the Sun: and even, as their Priestesses and Elders would constantly remind them, upon the great prophecy declared by their ancestors that foretold of the Sun’s eventual return to their cursed lands. With everything withering around them, the prophecy was all that the Aurians had left to look forward to, and so they took to it with great gusto, dreaming that one day they, too, could perhaps experience what it was like to truly live, just as the ancients in their stories had.
While time continued to pass though, their death tolls still greatly outnumbered their births, and their collective hope for the future grew ever thinner.
Extinction seemed like a certainty.