Here’s a teaser from my most recent release, War of Nytefall: Rivalry. I was trying to think of a good one and remembered there was a scene where Titus Winthrop had to be sneaky. For those who don’t know, Titus is a vampire who stands around 7 feet tall and is very muscular. Not a man who is built for stealth, which made this even more exciting to write. I couldn’t treat him like a smaller character. This really demonstrates how he isn’t a dimwitted fighter and why he is the leader of the Vengeance Hounds.
Hiding in a crate with no bottom, Titus checks all of the eyeholes before taking a few steps further into the port. He stops next to a pile of lumber and listens to a pair of servants complain about missing the tournament. The warrior has a clear view of the supply ship, which is smaller than he imagined. It has a single mast with a triangular sail and a figurehead that is a beautifully painted depiction of the Vampire Queen. The crew is no more than ten Dawn Fangs, each one wearing a jacket with a diamond emblazoned on the back. Thinking that he has a clear path, he rises and is about to run to a tower of crates when he spots Dean come out of a shack with the burly captain. The two men stand by the gangplank without getting in the way of the sailors, who have already unloaded more supplies than Titus would believe is possible from such a tiny vessel. With the butler standing directly in his path, the hidden vampire considers making a mad rush, but fears that a direct attack would result in the ship staying on Apelios. He curses under his breath about being so huge and having no powers that allow him to sneak through a crowd. Not for the first time since transforming into a Dawn Fang, the warrior tries to cast an invisibility spell, but the only thing that happens is he pops one of his knuckles.
Slowly walking backwards, Titus positions himself behind the damp logs and tries to see if he came make it to the water. There are at least thirty servants and guards between him and the ocean as well as a maze-like collection of crates. While checking the other sets of eyeholes, he wonders if he can sprint across the open area and disappear within the mess. He cannot think of a way to quietly take out anyone he comes across, but making a racket might help his new plan succeed. With Dean present, Titus prays that his initial instincts were wrong and that the cloaked vampire will send the ship away if enough destruction is inflicted on the dock. All he would have to do is get into the ocean and swim far enough at an angle that would bring him to the hull. The thought of there being monsters in the water gives him a little pause, but he knows that he is running out of options and time.
Licking his lips, the nervous Dawn Fang is about to rush into the open when his crate is jostled and he hears a pair of groans. Peering out of the eyeholes, he can see a vampiric ogre leaning down to lift his hiding place. Titus braces his hands and feet against the sides to avoid getting exposed and focuses entirely on maintain a steady push on the wood. A shout causes the worker to stop and turn, which gives the warrior a clear look at Dean. The butler is only inches away and arguing about where the box of chainmail has to be put, which is enough of a warning for the Dawn Fang to duck his head. Sun glints off his armored shirt, which presses against the wood and prevents anyone from looking inside. He bites his lower lip when he feels a finger push his shoulder through the hole and hears Dean complain about their supplier putting too much padding in the container. With an angry wave, the old-world vampire sends the ogre on his way and goes back to where the captain is smacking a clumsy crewman.
Instead of being put on the ground, the warrior is thrown to the top of a stack of crates, which gives him a clear view of the entire dockyard. Rubbing his aching muscles, Titus takes advantage of being able to sit down and not having to worry about getting discovered. He watches the workers finish unloading the ship and the crew enjoys a break while their captain brings Dean onboard to inspect the hold. Sensing that his window is closing, he checks every side in search of a way to finish his escape and sneak onto the ship. He curses at the sight of another squad of guards entering the dockyard, the warriors spreading out to take positions that prevent anyone from getting into the area. The only idea that comes to his mind is getting the tall stack of crates to topple towards the ocean. Judging the distance, he knows he will come up a little short, but a well-timed roll could make it look like he is nothing more than a container of armor tumbling into the water.
Pushing all of the potential problems out of his mind, Titus puts his hands and feet on the crate below him. He starts a gentle rocking that has no effect on the tower, so he tries to use more force without breaking the sturdy wood. Stealing a glance through the eyeholes, he notices three servants standing nearby and pointing in his direction. Fearing that they are about to move his crate to a storage room, he tries even harder to make the tower fall over. Making very little progress, Titus begins whispering for the trio to yank out the bottom crate and hopes that his inspirational voice can charm them into action from so far away. He is about to give up on both ideas when the three men stop talking, shrug, and march over to the containers. The warrior holds back a shout of victory as he feels the entire stack shake and hears the bottom container being pushed. Dean’s voice rings out to stop the workers, but they have done enough to allow for a single stomp by Titus to send everything crashing to the ground. Quickly bracing his hands against the sides of his crate, he waits until he feels a jarring impact and pushes off the ground with his feet to send himself rolling. He bounces off the edge of the dock and is about to plunge into the water when he is abruptly stopped in midair.
“You almost made it,” Jewelz says as she lifts the crate over her head.