I didn’t have much going into this place because I had the longest time deciding on a name. Not even sure what the originals were, but part of the problem was that the Vampire Queen went from hero to villain with no clear idea of where she would be operating from. Eventually, I realized she needed a secret haven to explain why nobody knew about her existence until now. Valleys didn’t seem to fit her personality, but an island worked perfectly. That was the birth of what became known as Apelios, which came with it’s own typo. Sadly, that typo is part of a spoiler in the book because I figured I should try to make it look like it was . . . on . . . purpose. Oops.
Anyhoo, I went through a few different shape ideas that didn’t really work out until I began browsing through my manga collection. I was just looking for something that would spark an idea. At one point, there was a tea kettle in the scene and I thought it would be interesting to have an island shaped like that. The inside of the handle is a lagoon with an arena in the center, which you know is going to be where some fun happens. The rest of the setting came together as I developed the Vampire Queen. Jungle surrounding a beautiful city with gemstone statues and high towers just felt right, especially since it was a brighter place than Nyte and Nytefall. It didn’t feel like a place where vampires would thrive, which made it feel unique.
Everything else about Apelios came about as I wrote the book. The locals quickly developed this blatant sense of freedom and borderline debauchery. A solid obedience to the Vampire Queen got locked in too, which created the question of who was influencing who. It did seem like she was growing alongside her home at this point instead of me basing it around her. This was for the best as I finished the first draft because it really had to be about her and the island. The two needed to fit together perfectly and molding her into her surroundings was easier when it came to the details. This might also be why I didn’t put a lot on Apelios because there had to be a focus on its residents and adding too much would make it feel cluttered.
I’ve noticed with War of Nytefall that many locations have a strong connection to one or two characters. Xavier Tempest and Nadia Sylvan have Nyte. Clyde has Nytefall. Now, the Vampire Queen has Apelios. All three are kingdoms of vampires, which makes this civil war feel like it’s going to have more than two sides. Looking over the volumes, third parties do seem to get involved a lot to threaten both sides. That makes me wonder if I started something with this hidden island. How many Dawn Fangs or old-world vampires will try to carve out their own kingdom in Windemere? Will Apelios start a fresher revolution where you have a global free-for-all? It’s really something to consider, which is odd since this place didn’t really seem that special when I first made it. At the very least, I didn’t think it would make me question so much.