When creating War of Nytefall, I didn’t really think about the cities that would be vampire only. In fact, I only considered that they would have castles, lairs, and live within the pre-existing mortal society. That was kind of lazy of me since that’s how settings typically go in these stories. Then, Mab turned up in Legends of Windemere: The Mercenary Prince and talked about the city of Nyte. It was a passing comment about the vampire capital and I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I nearly forgot about it and it took me a while to find it and confirm the spelling. So, what did I come up with for this central location?
Honestly, I was very sparse in the description of a lot of Nyte. It came to me that the vampires wouldn’t make a city that would scream undead bloodsuckers. There is a central castle where a lot of the action takes place and a city has spread out around it. Windows all have shutters for when daylight comes, but since the sun only saps strength, the vampires still move around the city during those times. The marketplace had the most detail because I imagined the stores having unconscious mortals in cages to sell as ‘full kegs’ or tap to give citizens a variety. It was similar to ducks in a Chinese restaurant window. Overall, the city came off as having a mild personality instead of being out there like Gaia, Rodillen, and Haven. Again, this made sense because vampires wouldn’t want to stand out and I couldn’t see them trading with mortals.
Nyte is tucked in the middle of a wilderness, but the Great Cataclysm has moved it closer to mortal settlements. This is another reason why the vampires are under attack from the beginning. With nobody knowing what caused the Great Cataclysm, certain groups have considered that the vampires did it in an attempt to increase their hunting grounds. This isn’t even close to true, but a terrified world has turned Nyte into a beacon of fear for one side and hope for another. In this way, the city acts more as a symbol than a location. It’s extremely important to the traditional vampires because of its role as a stronghold that has survived the 50 years of assault from their natural enemies. Many consider the fall of Nyte being equal to the fall of vampire society, which isn’t surprising. It’s been maintaining the front line in terms of battles and culture for centuries.
One might wonder why the Duragians haven’t tried to raze the city to the ground since it’s a known location. I’ve thought about this too and came up with two conclusions. One is that there is a benefit for keeping Nyte around. Not every vampire lives here and those that don’t are harder to keep track of. Destroying the city means that more enemies escape into the wind and become wandering threats. If the Duragians ever manage to destroy most of the solitaries and smaller civilizations then they would go after Nyte because the threat of thousands of hiding vampires wouldn’t be there. Also, a failed siege could result in retaliation at a time when the temples’ numbers are too low. Needless to say, this isn’t what every priest and paladin believes, so there are still attempts. The other conclusion is that there are magical defenses around the territory that only mortals fall for. This would be illusions that direct them away from the city or traps that are checked for fresh meat every few hours.
Most of my attention with Nyte went to the castle, so I imagined it starting out with that and developing a city around it. So, much of the area revolves around the nobility surviving an attack. There are thick fortifications and secret passages that connect all of the important rooms. Oddly enough, I didn’t really imagine this place with the window shutters, which hints that those who live there try to maintain a slight connection to their mortal lives. This might not be on purpose with the current leadership, but the castle has a sense of never being changed beyond decorations. Still, the details of this place remained tame compared to my past creations. This may go throughout the whole series since vampires are focused on staying in the shadows.
Then again, there are two more locations that are important to War of Nytefall and they sit at the extremes when compared to Nyte.