Spoiler Alert! This blog-post delves into plot points within my novel; Aether Legion
As I wrote Aether Legion, I fell in love with a secondary character; Douglass. Initially he’s merely a ruthless and violent man, the chief henchman of Tiberius Dummond. His task, to kidnap Regina Wells and bring her to the Dummond brothers’ hidden lair. Early into their trek from the Caerphilly to the American territory of New Mexico, Douglass expresses an interest in his captive. Amidst his initial and crude advances he halts. He insists that while he may take what his lusts desire by force, what he wants more is her love. During their voyage Regina learns of the harsh beginnings of Douglass’ life and the reasons for his loyalty to Tiberius. Regina sees in him a monster eager to become a man and chooses to see his transformation through.
Douglass impressed me early on as a new version of an old friend; Claude Dufresne from Adventures Above the Aether. Calm in the face of danger, loyal to the core, and a man of action rather than words; something inside me fought to expand his role early in the manuscript’s writing. It was a friend in the writer’s workshop that suggested a Beauty and the Beast correlation between Regina and Douglass. Actually, what she brought up was Luke and Laura from General Hospital. Though a powerful story with fans, it also raised an uproar with its “rape leads to the biggest blockbuster love story in 80’s soap opera history.” Their wedding was almost as big a deal with fans of the show as Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Any-who, I focused on Beauty and the Beast and the rest came easily. Regina helped Douglass redeem himself and the two dreamed of a happily ever after… until things got complicated.
Then a month or so after the release of Aether Legion, it hit me. The story I wrote as a steampunk Beauty and the Beast subplot also mirrored what I’d learned about Stockholm Syndrome. Hostages have been know to, over the time of their capture, develop sympathetic feelings for their captors and even fought with their rescuers in the end.
For me, as I wrote it, I always thought of Douglass as a man who saw something of his brighter days in Regina and she saw an opportunity to draw a misguided man into the light.