Unlike most monsters, vampires have this strange habit of turning on each other. It doesn’t happen in stories where you only have the one bloodsucker and maybe a few enslaved underlings. This is when you get a society of vampires, which inevitably becomes riddled with classism, elitism, and a few other -isms. Backstabbing and destroying each other is standard operating for these creatures, which can be a little disappointing. On the other hand, predators tend to be territorial and have hierarchies, so maybe that’s where this comes from.
In many ways, vampires demonstrate human nature taken to an extreme. They eat with no end to their appetite, lust for lovers with a supernatural libido, and demonstrate a destructive rage. So, a society where they are one of the most dangerous things to their own kind seems to make sense. Although, half the time I think they’re being used as a commentary on the elites of our world. Very heavy-handed with the ego, vanity, and quick to kill those they see as inferior. Makes me wonder why vampires bother making more if they treat so many of their kind with disdain.
That snobbery is something I tried to avoid when I designed the Dawn Fangs, but I did put it into the traditional vampire system. Keep in mind that War of Nytefall is about the vampire civil war, so it makes sense that they are the most dangerous enemy out there. It isn’t only the physical threat, but both societies are at risk if the Dawn Fangs are exposed to the world. The revelation that there is a vampire species immune to sunlight and able to hide among mortals with ease would terrify the world. Anything that is remotely fanged and not a serpent would be at risk. So, this is a war that is being drawn out over years because it isn’t easy to have battles without being seen.
One of the things I enjoy about having vampires fight each other is that they’re on equal footing. With hunters, you have a mortal underdog and holy warriors tend to have an advantage. A battle between vampires isn’t as clear cut and you can have a different flavor to the event. It isn’t always a one hit kill since they have the same resistance and healing ability, so you can make the fight really brutal. This fits their monstrous persona. You can demonstrate the resilience of the species by having them continue with wounds that would kill a mortal enemy. Because of this, I think the vampire as enemy situation is very important to the genre. Not to mention it creates the dynamic of them having the same range of good and evil as humans, which makes them relatable.
Right now, it’s hard to fully explain how much of a threat other vampires are to the Dawn Fangs. There is a pretty big power gap between them and the traditionals, but they lose out when it comes to numbers. This could change as the story progresses and you might see some Dawn Fangs turn into ambitious warlords. Clyde is able to control a small gang, but an entire society is new to him. There’s going to be some blips and he’ll have to figure out when to be a leader and when to be a monster. I would go so far as to say the biggest risk to him from this enemy is toward his humanity instead of his mind or body. Imagine being very powerful and trying to restrain yourself, but people keep rising up to put your world at risk. You could get a little paranoid and possibly start inching towards preemptive actions that are extreme. I’ve actually noticed with the second book that Clyde fights less and is spending more time thinking about his role in the world he is creating. Having members of your own citizenry be enemies can really mess with his head. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out since even I’m not sure where I’m going with this part of his evolution.