First, I tried to find a vampire couple picture to use here, but the results weren’t very appealing when it came to Clyde and Mab. Closest thing was Alucard and Seras from ‘Hellsing’, but they aren’t a couple. Anyway, I just wanted to mention this while I get my notes and head together.
Over the course of War of Nytefall, Clyde and Mab’s relationship change as the characters grow. Yes, I know this is obvious, but you’d be surprised how often this needs to be explained. I think this side of the story gets overlooked by some because of their personalities. Mab is very independent and not mushy, so the romance side of things doesn’t come out. Clyde isn’t much better with his monstrous side peeking out fairly often. So, their relationship going from partners/ex-lovers to lovers isn’t the easiest thing to write. It’s also a very action-packed series that is very episodic and hosts a cast of immortals, which removes the time factor of many romances. Still, Dawn Fangs possess emotions and that means love can be on the menu regardless of there being an action/violence heavy plot.
I said the Clyde/Mab relationship is hard to write and that is because they don’t act like the lovey couples I’ve done before. Xavier and Nadia are easy since they’re in love and act that way. Clyde and Mab are more likely to argue, physically lash out, and bumble around with their true feelings. A part of this is because they are thieves and there is a distrust of others in their nature. Not that they aim this at each other, but it means they have spent over one hundred years keeping secrets. You will see this in War of Nytefall: Eradication that they, especially Mab, hide things from each other because they aren’t sure they can share it. This means I’m always having to step back and think if this is a secret worth keeping and how the reveal will be met. Not only by the characters, but by the audience who I’ve found to rarely be as forgiving about these types of things as my characters.
An interesting aspect of this relationship is that you can see it coming from a mile away since the beginning. Mab spent 50 years believing Clyde was alive and wanting to free him. Out of everyone he knew, Clyde believed that she would be the one who would look for him. They get angry when someone messes with the other. There’s a bizarre ‘vampire’ flirting here too because they take advantage of their high pain tolerance and fast healing ability. It’s more Mab who will tear off one of Clyde’s arms and smack him with it since he needs to be calmer in general. Yet, this has been going on since she tore his chest open to see that his heart was beating and it was met with a ‘do you mind?’ reaction. They are a fun source of comedy, which acted as a major clue that they would eventually go from partners to lovers.
I know some people will say that romance shouldn’t be in an action-packed series like War of Nytefall. The thing is that this is an important part of Clyde and Mab’s character development. To be fair, it’s more for him than her because he’s the one who can go full monster at any moment. I’ll get more into Clyde’s human vs monster thing at another post, but it is a worry of his. His relationships are what remind him that he isn’t purely a force of destruction. The biggest anchor is Mab and you will see that his outbursts are fewer when they are together, but the ones he has when she is in danger will be fairly violent. This connection is a major point in the story of his humanity and how she became the way she is when she showed up in The Mercenary Prince. The hardest part was the go through with the relationship and not reduce either character. Clyde became a little more mellow while Mab became more focused and group-oriented. She has definitely assumed more of a leadership role in Nytefall instead of being the one who will go off on her own. It isn’t much since they still at the same, but it’s a change that shows they are growing.
Going out of the story, there is another challenge here that I mentioned on Monday. It is really hard to maintain the Mab/Clyde relationship when they were me and my ex-wife at one point. Can’t kill her off or remove the relationship without hurting Clyde and removing his humanity anchor. So, I can only keep going forward and separate fiction from reality. This means plenty of breaks, but I do think this has added to their relationship being less physical and not mushy at all. They’re fairly casual about being together as time moves on, which works for their personalities. After all, they were partners before and after their first romance, so Clyde and Mab have always been together in some fashion. That gives me a strong foundation to work with and it blocks a lot of mucking around. This isn’t a new or young couple that you can derail, which helps me work through my own issues.
That isn’t to say I won’t mess with them in some fashion, which is another big point of the story. Clyde and Mab will have a really rough road ahead. That part of their story will begin in War of Nytefall: Eradication.