Possible Series Rule Amendment

I’ve been doing theory-crafting and extra planning over the past few months. One of which was one of Fragments’ core rules that keep everything organized and flowing smoothly. Namely, the one Sita broke: A servant must be available to play/select in FGO before they are allowed to be summoned.

It’s a fair rule, and its entire purpose is to prevent servants who had been shown in other Fate works but lack the context as to how they’re summoned into FGO. As example, if said servant needs to die in the story or arrives at certain circumstances, then their summoning is more viable.

That said, often FGO just throws a servant into the gacha. Add to that, a servant doesn’t necessarily need to have the memories of certain past summonings for them to arrive. The circumstances surrounding availability can vary, so while I don’t want to abolish the rule outright, it’s definitely proved to be a roadblock I put down long ago.

So as the amendment, I was going to use that rule as more of a guideline so servants with ample character development in another work can make their way to FoC Chaldea without needing to be in the gacha.

Obviously this can be abused, but since I’m the only one writing this series the trigger discipline would reside solely with me. So, if I were to decide to amend or abolish the rule, that doesn’t mean I’m about to throw every single non-gacha servant into the roster (and definitely no OC servants). They’d merely get added to that priority lineup I’ve never revealed, placed accordingly as determined by their circumstances, subplot viability, overall world-building necessity, and other factors.

As the readers, it was only right I inform you of this consideration. If I decide to go through with it, you will know as early as next fragment. Whenever that manages to squeak out.

There will be a shard or even two in the coming week if all goes smoothly. Thanks for your time, and hope you’re all staying safe and healthy!

Fragment 113 Insight

Fic is hardly dead. Just chugging very slowly.

Before the usual thought input, I’d like to raise a note about something that irks me with the story. Because of the medium, and my background in filmmaking, the clash over setting a scene and word count continues. I like painting vivid scenes before I execute them, but that inevitably pushes the word count and limits my space for dialogue. As evidenced by this fragment in particular, I’d love to go into aimless talks that embody absolute slice of life, but it comes into conflict with pushing reveals, descriptions, actor blocking, etc.

Just a tiny exasperation of mine. If I could draw, FoC would definitely have been a comic series instead. But it is what it is.

So to address the big elephant in the room: It was my intent to introduce the Hakunos for years, as SKYS was well aware of. The introduction changed and shifted over time, and it was a decision weighed very heavily because of the sheer influence they carry for Moon Cell servants. In the end, every decision about them was solidified, and though many will probably hope for a bigger role, they will get one that fits this fanfic universe appropriately. As stated many times before, this is a story for ‘new’ masters.

To be honest, I was a bit ‘meh’ about writing two romance-centric fragments back to back, but it was inevitable because of the nature of the servant in question. Though it was a small joke in the entry itself, Tamamo’s character and romantic/devoted ideals go hand in hand. That’s not to say she doesn’t have other aspects to her vivid character that wasn’t shown and explored, but it plays a big part.

The real trouble was the same with the other major protag servants: It’s hard to really make anything new with someone so fleshed out. All I could do was offer a big reveal, fun foreshadowing, and plenty of relaxing moments in her current life. There were several more interactions I wished to jump on, but I felt it was necessary to touch upon the bigger ones to further flesh out some of the dynamics. I’ll have to slip in other ones in the background somehow.

Teaser: To serve one’s ruler was a high honor, no matter how mundane nor impossible the task. To do so elegantly, flawlessly, and precisely was a balance long refined. The chance to do so again was not missed, even as a mere server, and occasionally a spy once more. For the sake of their loving queen’s smile, they’d be whatever she wished them to be.

Author’s Mid-April Update

Hey readers!

I know it’s been a crazy time for most, and I hope you’re staying safe and healthy. Even with my main career currently on hold, the sidework and other assorted projects have been keeping me relatively busy. Still healthy and kicking too.

That unfortunately meant FoC fell further to the wayside than I had intended, but my tendency to focus/drive hard on the current task usually means something gets hit in the crossfire.

That said, there’s a few notes I’d like to make here to bring some things up to speed:

1. The website has been brought completely up to date to have the proper information the series has provided thus far. This includes additions to several of the lore pages found under the series’ information tab. If there’s anything else that seems amiss, please inform me and hopefully I’ll spot it in a timely manner!

2. Shards will be coming out a bit more frequently again now that the turmoil of the past few weeks has settled into an unsettling normalcy.

3. A new fragment will be dropping within the hour.

4. The discord links should all be working properly. I’ve been pretty damn bad at communication and getting back to everyone’s messages during the past months compared to my norm, but hopefully I can fix that once this weekend passes.

5. I’ve received a lot of well wishes, compliments, and more over the past few weeks that I can’t respond to directly on the tumblr (due to anon). To do so would also mean flooding the blog with well-meaning messages that would make reading questions/answers more than an easter egg hunt. I apologize, and would like to thank you directly, but I’ll have to compromise by placing it on the website too:

Once more, thank you all for the support you’ve shown throughout the years on this rather surprising endeavor of mine! 

I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have if it wasn’t for the tremendous show of fascination and interest many of you have shown, and it really does make me smile seeing how satisfied my fic has made many of you. It may just be a bunch of non-canon words that no one should take too seriously, but if it brightens someone’s day or helps another get through tougher times, than that’s more than I could’ve asked for. Even if it were to ground to a complete halt in the future, I hope the (at least) 2,000,000 words would help others long into the future.

Stay safe, optimistic, and healthy everyone! Thanks again for sticking around!

Fragment 112 Insight

A second entry for Caesar and Cleopatra, by virtue of the original being split and robbing both of them of a full fragment. Now they both ‘have’ one fragment each.

Event fragments usually wind up feeling a bit wonky. This one in particular felt jagged as I was doing the checks, but so long as it held the overall feel I was aiming for, I was fine letting it be. It wouldn’t be the first unconventional fragment that follows a ‘day in the life’ concept rather than looping subplots together while a chosen character goes about their day.

On to the whale in the living room: The wedding. I didn’t want to make it to read like a giant replay. A mostly romance fragment won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and with how rather ‘ordinary/human’ I designed it to be, it wasn’t going to have the flare of other fragments either. So based on plenty of behind the scenes interactions I’ve had with grooms and brides, I’ve went for another angle: Chopping it up into segments. It helps things move along quicker while skipping lengths of meandering content. There’s plenty as is without the fragmentation.

But that’s also partially the point. Many guests don’t get to see it, but those in the bridal party, immediate family, and special staff (photographers) glimpse many things behind ‘the magic’ of the big day. One is how rather human and non-chalant everything is during the whole process while you can sense the underlying feelings of nervousness from the big two. Most also don’t get to see how contrasting it is to see the bride and groom getting ready at different times, mostly because men usually don’t receive a ton of prepwork compared to the women.

There were a lot of references and interactions, but they were all limited mostly to the bridal party themselves since they’re the closest. It’s a shame I couldn’t open up new avenues and shed light on other connections they may have, but the most important ones take the spotlight on anyone’s wedding day. And, as usual, for the sake of some brevity in lengthy fragment entries, I wanted it shorter rather than brutally long.

Teaser: New Years Eve was a time of festivities and joy to bring in a hopeful future. With all the time she’d spent on earth or the Moon Cell, alive or as a spirit, she’d seen the years pass in many different colors. Her second one in Chaldea might not look to be the most spectacular yet, but it was a better one for certain. Whatever 2016 may bring, she’d at least count her blessings… and continue to groan over some unfortunate companions…

Fragment 111 Insight

An odd pick for Christmas, but we’re so often used to seeing it from our point of view that I thought an Oni’s take would be just as interesting. Not too far off either since Ibaraki enjoys festivals, but she’d have her own blend of Scrooge/Grinch mixed in for flavor. Plus she was a key pick to help forward the obvious subplot advancement for another character. Sometimes you just need to give a forceful shove to move a difficult rock into an upright position. Or nudge it in that direction, at least.

As much as Ibaraki could’ve been played with as a sweets-loving Oni the whole time, she’s still an Oni. I tried to tie all her loose ends together and outline her reasonings for not doing what she wants. Obviously all she cares about is Shuten at the moment, but there are other reasons she’s unknowingly giving more weight to than she realizes. I wanted it to walk a fine line that she’s both aware and unaware just how much others, and Chaldea, honestly mean for her.

What made her a bit more difficult to write is the lack of potential companions. Despite being accepted and ‘forgiven’ for what she did in the pre-TGL singularity, the Oni wasn’t about to try and make friends. Only a select few would bridge that gap, so I selected the one she’d likely care about for one reason or another. Save for the drinking team, Robin, and those with Oni Blood, I feel Nobunaga would be an instant click, so I capitalized on that. There were a few more I considered bolstering, like BB, but ultimately, I didn’t it getting too bulky. Sometimes a simple nod is enough to set an anchor.

Above all else, I wanted Ibaraki’s fragment to be more confrontational-minded than most. She’s there whether she likes everything that involves or not. So I made sure her interactions felt right and colorful, while also showing she’s not one of the better residents if one were to make a rank ladder. That was made obvious enough, or at least I hoped with how many anvils were dropped.

Teaser: There’s no teaser, rather an explanation instead. As I said earlier, Caesar & Cleopatra were partially robbed of a true full fragment since I combined the both of them earlier on. So instead of ruining the old one or granting them one each, the fair answer is to give them one more shared fragment. Caesar and Cleopatra are next, and it should be an obvious guess what that entails.

Fragment 110 Insight

While it was easy enough to make Nursery Rhyme’s another sugar-overload fragment, I wanted it to be a blend of other possibilities too. Nothing sad for the holidays, but enough to show Nursery Rhyme’s many other potential sides since she’s not exactly a true child. Just like Jack. Except Jack was far more interested in weaponizing cuteness and living the childhood their collective never did.

For Nursery Rhyme, it’s a bit of the opposite: Obviously her goal as an entity is to bring happiness to others in her presence, thanks to the master’s disposition on summoning. Adding some other points, like not holding her tongue around others, being smart and creative where it counts, incredibly elegant for her favorite past times… The fragment drove that point home. Or at least I hope it did.

For once I didn’t overload a fragment with foreshadowing. As necessary as it is to keep things interconnected and moving along, a rather mundane fragment is fine too. I believed there was plenty of potential speculation to be garnered just by the introduction of three new servants. I’m still way behind on that, but I’d rather not rush intros and let them sit around twiddling their thumbs for cameos. I probably repeated that point a dozen times by now.

I honestly had Nursery Rhyme’s fragment pegged for later. It was going to be the Disney World vacation, but I decided it’s too far out to hold out for that long. It made a decent fit here anyway, and there’s always another potential child servant or alternate view for that fragment. Far, far down the road though.

Hopefully I’ll get the next one out before Christmas, or on Christmas. Time will tell.

Teaser: Halloween was better. There was lots more fun and excitement compared to this other human holiday, but she guessed there were merits to it. Any time spent with Shuten? Gratifying enough, sure. The tributes and delicious candies were also good. So she supposed Christmas wasn’t so bad, just like her stay here was surprisingly… satisfying, all frustrations considered.

Fragment 109 Insight

Nero was a bit of a hit and miss fragment to write with some annoyances. One annoyance being that regardless of how I write it, there’s bound to be those will complain the fragment is just “shilling Nero like everything else is.” Even if I’ve only given the exact amount of fairness I give to every other servant given a fragment. It is what it is.

It was only right to have one of the fashion servants do the fashion show perspective, and Nero was the obvious choice. It made for a decent chance to use the artist angle Nero is rather known for but often not explored as much due to the angle of canon Fate. As usual, the descriptions were tinted in her point of view to help emphasize that.

While the show took up a lot of space, and I tried to make sure it wasn’t too repetitive, I did make enough room for a fair number of interactions. It mostly involved the Royal Fashionistas so everyone could get a better look at their group’s dynamics. Altera was an obvious choice too, as were the Romans. If you noticed Tamamo was missing despite the two sharing a husband (relegated to references), that’s because I’m saving more of their interactions for the caster’s fragment.

They get enough talking and interacting points in canon Extra anyway, so it shouldn’t be that much of a loss.

So I finally decided to double-check the lyrics on Nero’s famously sung lines only to learn it actually wasn’t the lyrics to Jingle bells. Just sung to the tune. And apparently botched and undecided among the community? To that end, I just left it as it was sung for… accuracy sake. And so you could have your padoru padoru meme canonized in FoC.

As one final note, it’s fragments like this that remind me why I’d definitely do it comic/manga style rather than as plain writing or a visual novel. As much as allowing the audience to imagine things is a good thing, some of these clothes got pretty damn specific to the point I was forcefully trying to ensure I didn’t overelaborate with all the tiny details. Unfortunately, it’s also those tiny details that make fashion what it is. There was no winning with balancing word count and visualization in this fragment.

So, as an extra for this, there’s a small gallery at the bottom of this insight that showcases some of the designs I tried to explain with a fair amount of brevity. At least the ones shown that had an image reference (CE or not).

And here’s the three songs that played. The duet is spot on with what I imagined for Jeanne & Tristan’s cover.

Jeanne and Tristan’s Duet Cover
Phantom of the Opera’s Sung Song
Elizabeth’s Cover

Teaser: If one were petty enough, they’d say they were living a lie. But they… no, she never believed that. She was merely doing what she was born to do: Give inspiration and happiness to children everywhere. And so, in memory of her former master, that lonely little child, she’d live on in her image, bringing joy and happiness to as many as possible. That’s what she’d decided upon gleaming the nature of Chaldea’s benevolent 48th Master.

Fragment 108 Insight

Rather tricky one to balance and keep contained considering it offered a glimpse into FoC’s version of Onigashima. I believed this variation of the event would prove to be a mixed way to poke development into two arcs at once, even if Raikou’s wasn’t as fully fleshed out as it could’ve been. It still had to be Ushi’s fragment in the end.

So it was only fitting a lot of it revolved around combat and battle. She’s famous for it, and it’s what she understands best. To that end, even her decision making and the chapter’s tone leans towards warlike tendencies with an emphasis on her drawback: Not the best in social situations. There were plenty of opportunities for that to shine too.

At the sacrifice of showing Ushiwakamaru with many other characters, I focused it in on the Eastern servants since they get a mixed bag of screen time. Raikou, Tomoe, and Benkei were more direct for obvious reasons, but, again, it was to emphasize the focus and tone of battle and loyalty.

Like with Anishka, Skyler gets a bit more of a development show too. Like the many drops before, I wanted to ensure new pieces of information are dropped accordingly so you feel like you’re learning more about who he might be as a leader in tandem with the servants. Even the little actions I bury in the detail help color an individual, but if you’ve read this far into my series you should be very well aware I do that.

The ending wasn’t as conclusive or traditional as it could’ve been, but this series is far from standard by premise alone. It still irks me, but I keep telling myself an ‘unresolved’ ending is allowed every now and then.

I honestly don’t have too much to say about this fragment compared to more recent ones since it’s so straightforward. Just to fluff this, here’s a bit of trivia: The delay was partially because I wasn’t satisfied with how the first and second draft turned out, so I sent it to SKYS early for a check. He said it was fine, but I still tweaked a few things so it settled my own displeasure.

Teaser: Umu! The next glorious day had arrived in Chaldea, and with it, the long-awaited event! Though she too is taking part, she can’t help but feel the tinges of uncertainty and hesitation echoing within her heart. There was no mistake she indulged herself, but her self-awareness had only grown heavier after so many remembered iterations. Yet, still she smiled and sought only the best for her current Roman citizens!

Fragment 107 Insight

Delays are going to be rampant this season, I feel. I apologize, but sometimes things grow out of control, and priorities are priorities.

This was a tricky fragment to work on, mostly because it covers three distinct but equal perspectives as one. Balancing all of them out, while making each one feel unique with their own stance on their problem, was very hard to work. I hope it wound up alright, but this is another of those fragments that should be seen as a turning point or checkup rather than the closure of a serious development.

If there was any closure to be found in this one, it’s obviously the ending for three servants: Brynhildr, Sigurd, and a bit Arthur. Despite what happened and some punishments to be dealt out, it turned out very well for the newly arrived Sigurd and Brynhildr. It’s sad, but Arthur once more meets tragedy of a different kind if you wish to see it that way. I left it ambiguous on purpose, but still a heavy weight for the saber.

With everything I built up and revealed for the Valkyries, this offered the final ‘change’ catalyst in a string of dominos. I just thought it’d be rather poetic that the final stone that could push Thrud and Ortlinde closer to where Hild had daringly went was for all of them to be overwhelmed by the sheer sense of heroic chivalry that Arthur offered. As in, crossing the threshold of admiration and into the first stages of affection, similarly to what happened to their eldest.

I tried to include whatever references I could, such as the one for Altera and some drawn connections to a few other servants. Again, I wanted each Valkyrie to be on their own separate parts of this path, including unique attachments that capitalize on their traits. For Ortlinde, there’s still none quite yet due to her shy yet dutiful demeanor, while I made Thrud feel a bit more like a hypocrite since she chased an ideal image of elegance, which may or may not include clothes and beauty.

Despite little showings from them, I decided to make Hild the furthest along because she’s the most upbeat. I feel she’d grow more interested and open with all the possibilities and light hearted interactions that fill the halls. It’d be easy for the Valkyries to get excited with so many heroes, but no doubt she’d be the one to take the lead in the developmental leap over their fears. If Brynhildr can be happy after such tragedy, then couldn’t they possibly allow themselves too?

Hopefully it offered a bunch of stuff for all of you. With FoC Christmas 2 approaching, I just have one more rather weighty entry to put before we can focus heavily on some community events and festive occurrences.

Teaser: At first, she thought confrontation was inevitable. They were rivals, and Tomoe made it very clear to many how she felt on that day. Still, despite the clear show of anger during their first meeting, she’d forced herself in check and bottled it up. Not for her sake. Certainly not. But how do you go about talking to someone who still won’t listen? How do you clear honor that was never stained? How do you find true civil ground where only blades once danced together?

Murphy’s Law Strikes

In terms of time.

I used to have time to pump out a few more shards, but thanks to unfortunate circumstances that fell on a colleague, I also wound up taking collateral damage. So as not to bore anyone, I won’t explain the situation, but time has gotten smacked again.

Unfortunately, it means Fragment 107 is likely delayed by a week. 

There’s a tiny chance I can get it done by next Monday, but I’d rather not botch the quality and let more typos run rampant than what already gets past SKYS and I.

I’ll see if I can’t pump out a shard or two as apology next week if the fragment does get delayed. I still got a work trip out in Mid-October, but next week’s free time is still fairly secure since I’ve long-since been packed and ready.

Again, sorry for the delay, but work is work.