How Ladon Got his PTSD
I’ve talked about how Rysa, the heroine of the Fate ~Fire ~Shifter ~Dragon universe, is based on a real young woman with real Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The ADHD symptoms Rysa shows—the jumping, the inability to sequence, the internalizing—are all true to life.
She’s not the only character with issues.
I didn’t originally intend for Ladon to suffer as much as he does in the first trilogy. I figured that all the long immortal—all the characters in the Fate ~Fire ~Shifter ~Dragon universe who have lived beyond a normal life span—would have some sort of trauma they needed to deal with. You live long enough as a warrior and after awhile, stuff’s going to be hard to take.
I figured that was the case with Ladon. That he’d developed ways of dealing and that he’d have his “issues,” and that they would become the engine of some of the story’s conflict.
Then I wrote this passage, from Chapter Nine of “Games of Fate”:
Against his chest, Rysa’s breath hitched. Her lip fluttered and her eyes grew huge. And Ladon knew all the pain he felt moving through her body was his fault.
Twenty-three centuries he and Dragon had fought battles and dealt with Burners. Twenty-three sets of one hundred year intervals, a meaningless measure of time for someone who’d lived through so many of them. Yet, they’d persevered and done what they were supposed to do. Every single one of those actions and reactions dropped onto their heads like a grain of sand blown in from the desert. Twenty-three centuries and sometimes Ladon wondered if he still had the strength to move through the dunes of his life.
I sat back and stared at what I just typed. And I knew Ladon didn’t just have “issues.” Ladon has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
PTSD is very different from ADHD. A good chunk of Rysa’s issues stem from how the world reacts to her. Ladon’s PTSD, on the other hand, stems from his mind and his body reacting to stimuli that are no longer in the world. It’s internal. It’s personal.
And it’s really, really shitty.
I decided not to deny what claws at the insides of my character. I decided that, like Rysa, Ladon’s is a voice that needs to be heard, though his is more common.
Fate ~Fire ~Shifter ~Dragon belongs to both Rysa and Ladon. It belongs to their entwined journeys out of what haunts their souls. And it’s about how they’re going to save not just each other, but the world.