While War of Nytefall: Rivalry focuses mostly on Mab and Clyde, there is a curious subplot for Titus Winthrop. For those who missed his origin post, Titus is the biological brother of Mab and the leader of the Vengeance Hounds. This group was the mercenary side of Clyde’s gang, which would take jobs that included joining armies as backup to rescuing lost kittens. Seriously, there was a very short list of jobs that they wouldn’t accept. He’s been a fun character to write at times, but it wasn’t until now that he got any chance to shine. This is a problem when you have a 13+ cast to work with, so you take what you can get.
The reason Titus gets attention here is because he has a close connection to the Vampire Queen. It’s kind of a spoiler, so I won’t go into details. Might not be too much of a surprise since he is Mab’s brother and the Vampire Queen is her rival. He would have been drawn into that fight at some point in the past. Yet, his history is intertwined with his sister’s mysterious rival. It was something that I came up with on the fly back when I was reviewing character bios. Even then, I didn’t lock onto the idea until I made the outline for Rivalry. It put Titus in a position where he stood alongside Clyde and Xavier, which made for a bizarre trio. He doesn’t really match with those two in power or cunning, so he comes off as the odd man out. Was this a problem?
Yes because I feared that I would do more harm than good. It’s difficult to take a character like Titus and put him in the spotlight, but not by himself. You worry that he won’t rise to the occasion and remain the shadows, which is why I gave him a connection to the main villain. That gives him something that Clyde and Xavier lack even if it’s not a good thing for his health. Titus stands as a centuries old loose end for the Vampire Queen, which means he’s got his head in a noose. It gave a small sense of vulnerability and added to Mab’s story while not taking away from him. Still, I won’t lie and say that I’m not anxious about his side of the adventure. It was another section that I had to balance along with everything else. Yet, I don’t think the story would work if it was only about Mab and Clyde like the first book was. Titus gives a newer insight into the overall plot and opens up the character to the audience for some freshness.
To be honest, I really enjoyed putting a huge, powerful man in a position where he couldn’t really muscle his way out of the situation. Many people would look at Titus and see nothing more than a brute. He might quickly show that he’s a talented and respected leader, but one has to give him the chance. This story took him away from the other Vengeance Hounds and forced him to be more than what he previously was. Well, I shouldn’t say ‘forced’ because Titus has always been cunning and smart. This didn’t have to come out very often when he was paired off with the wily combo of Luther and Bob. He has always been a little laid back and been okay with being used almost entirely for his brute force. Now, he has to flex his mental muscles enough to survive what’s coming his way.
So, what is the history between Titus and the Vampire Queen? That’s something to read about in the book when it comes out next month. Feel free to guess in the comments though. I won’t say if you’re right or wrong, but it should be fun.