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.

Fragment 106 Insight

Special Thanks to Mod 「」 on the discord for doing extra validity checks, and Happy Birthday!

If this entry felt very confusing, repetitive, and rambling in philosophy… Congrats. That was the point: To be a near-pointless, philosophical merry-go-round. Strange, no? When you pick up a story, or a new entry to one, there’s normal conventions that are usually followed. By being a bunch of circular ramblings, confirmations, and rhetorical askings, the work threatens to appear as off-putting, droll, and even pretentious in presentation. However, after calculating and drawing the lines, I felt that this was only the proper way to present Void Shiki’s thoughts.

Because, first and foremost, any of her actions are deemed meaningless by herself. She is the very embodiment of the Root, and thus knows everything that is to transpire before it even happens. That means, anything that she does ultimately feels meaningless because it was already guaranteed and slated to happen. Can you imagine living a life of omniscience like that? Where anything you do you understand was pre-determined and guaranteed? Where nothing comes as a surprise?

That’s why I wanted to make this fragment feel conflicting, confusing, and circular: To put you in her shoes. She’s walking around, but why? She’s watching a bunch of moments that are so miniscule and inconsequential the Root hadn’t even recorded them thoroughly. Again, why? If this presentation was any indication, Void Shiki can be very, very difficult to write because of this.

Nihilistic is a fair guess to her own thoughts on action, but she still does it. The only feasible reasoning is because she is the embodiment of the root forced into a merger with the human identity. As noted by her My Room lines and gleamed from that special episode of Kara no Kyoukai, it is plausible to get through to her on some level. That human spirit within isn’t exactly dead, but she’s certainly not about to pick up random hobbies or learn how to jet ski. She’ll move on fleeting whims, with the purpose of wanting to experience whatever meaningless acts she can to enjoy.

Then came the strangest oddity I readapted for FoC: Her partial dismissal of wishing to be but a transient dream to be seemingly tangible to a chosen one. In the game, it’s you on varying levels of affection. In FoC, it’s a friendship with Ereshkigal, who she can relate with on a rather unique level: They’re both not exactly human, and forlorn, seemingly hopeless isolation is something they both know well. While Merlin can relate, he was added more like a bridge to help Void Shiki better understand Ereshkigal’s adoration for the fleeting present.

But Void already understood that but didn’t. Again, circular logic, confirmation, reasoning, and acceptance/dismissal.

Despite how endless the cycle appears, I hope by the end it still instilled a sense of bittersweet hope for the transient powerhouse hidden within. She’s willing to help when Chaldea is in need, but there’s also a sense of slow progression. She’s forever a ghost in the night, but those who are aware of her is growing, despite the risk the other identity will find out. She seeks to enjoy the little glimpses she can despite the grim reminders of what looms on the horizon.

Though she serves to declare that FoC is very much guaranteed to head to the Lostbelts, I hope her tone and convenient glimpses helped settle a few frayed nerves: FoC is taking them on in their own iteration. Their way.

Teaser: A lot had transpired since their summoning. Reunited with their sister, they declared themselves many, but one in the same. Yet dear Bryn had grown different from them. It was incomprehensible and worrying, then grew more so when the same seemingly happened to them. Now they seemed unrecognizable, but was it really all that bad for them to pursue their own wishes too? Collective or not?

Fragment 105 Insight

I’ve been looking forward to writing this fragment for a long while, so much so that the early plants setup were first laid around Shinjuku singularity. I wanted to have a few key actors in place before I could spin this turning point fragment, and it wound up becoming the longest one to date. Funny how the avengers ones usually wind up being on the longer end, but I didn’t want to jip Lobo of the development course I envisioned.

He may be an animal, but his legend spoke of a proud and cunning wolf. He was also a king, so that nobility should remain. Couple that with memories of Shinjuku, plus the avenger class, and there’s a curious balance that needed to be struck, and a serious tone/stance that couldn’t give so easily. He hates humans, and has been jaded with nearly every interaction with them. Thus, his development of coming to tolerate them wouldn’t be so easy. It needed plenty of setup and time just to get to this point.

After that, it was just a matter of picking the right actors that benefit both ways. Geronimo was a clear cut example of a human he’d appreciate. Kintoki would be one he’d tolerate but still roughly accept. Then there’s the rescued dog who played a serious role in stopping him in Shinjuku, whether he knew it or not. Add in a saber who hates him just as much in turn, and a soldier who throws him for a loop, and that’s plenty of variety even without having Fou being present to talk. With that, there should have been many tones and shades of the wolf king despite his current state of angry, jaded irritation.

From there, it was a matter of making sure it all fit the theme: That the hardest part is learning to move on. A little poetic for a nomadic pack of wolves, and more so when all the actors and pieces come into place. To further that end, while I could’ve placed a descended pack, that would’ve dampened the melancholy mood. As much as Lobo needed it, he also needs to truly accept what is before he can start seeing what else is possible, such as making sure these new inheritors are actually approvable.

Just like I took liberty with giving him limited communication, I took a bit of leeway with the animals too. I could’ve definitely gone with the standardized “animal dialogue is mainly inferring their intent to each other”. It would’ve involved a lot of beautiful descriptions and likely wound up roughly like Wall-E in terms of painting words without voicing one, but I ultimately decided against it. Partly out of convenience, partly to give it the stereotypical cartoon feel with talking animals. Mostly it was because I wanted to personify them so their stances and tones were clearly contrasted, yet remained wild and animalistic.

Finally, though this fragment served as a turning point for Lobo, it wasn’t just for him alone. It marks the beginning of the journey and full confirmation of master candidate four, who begins his long path on a strange note compared to the other three masters. As proven with this fragment, how he handles things from here will not be the most conventional paths, but that may be exactly what some unorthodox  servants would appreciate.

And speaking of unorthodox ones… I’ll try to get the next one out in a timely manner, but I’ll be without connection and computers for a fair amount of time.

Teaser: Knowledge is everything. With it, there is little justification to feel. Why cry when you know what is to come. Why struggle, fight, work, or move to change what is already guaranteed? The quantum timelocks don’t move. The course of the world and human history is set across the many iterations, so doing nothing or anything matters not. So much that has been witnessed is useless sentiment… Pointless gestures and acts… Knowledge is everything, yet it could not give her an answer as to why she has been adding to such meaningless notions.

Fragment 104 Insight

I’ve gone over bits and pieces of the Memorial Essence plenty of times throughout the series. While much of it is reiterated, there are still parts that weren’t quite fleshed out or even reiterated. Of those, the most prominent is the experience of receiving a Memorial Essence. There was a glimpse of what happens in the first twenty-four hour in Redemption from Sin, thanks to Gilgamesh, but by comparison, that one was very tame. It was still Gilgamesh in the end, who didn’t live quite as differently as he had.

In this case, Meltryllis had experienced and come to hold things she shouldn’t have. Arguably, much of her actions and emotions contradict who the traditional Meltryllis was. So in this regard, it would be closer to Kiritsugu or Irisviel receiving Memorial Essences of their Fate/Zero counterparts. It’d be jarring, clashing, and even too foreign to accept. Something like a dream, nightmare, or even a possession of sorts.

As such, I wanted to paint a very distinct picture of that too-long glossed over fact: A very different set of memories would be both jarring and mind-splitting. As example, many rightfully say EMIYA and Shirou aren’t the same person. To mix them together flatly without any other stimuli, experiences, or so forth would lead to an inevitable clash of personality, ideals, beliefs, and emotions. They can relate on some level because of their shared origin and stretches of existence, but otherwise, the chance they get along off the bat if forced to be completely truthful is slim to none.

That’s what I tried to color with this fragment. Many were looking forward to Meltryllis, and rightfully so. Her story was tragic. But the her from the singularity didn’t make it back, nor was summoned. So in order to get that one back, it would inevitably mean potentially sacrificing the one who got summoned.

Thus, to make that not so easy and sympathize, I painted the current Meltryllis like the one you get in the game. She doesn’t have the memories. She’s her own distinct person who acts and thinks according to her core, but would otherwise come to slowly appreciate those who care when given enough time. The tiniest fractions of this are apparent throughout the first half, so by the latter half, there’s some grounds for the singularity Meltryllis to latch onto for a ‘stronger invasion’, per se.

So the transition is slow. While it could be inferred she’s accepting those memories by the end of it, I spread plenty of philosophy and information throughout the fragment. You know. My usual deal. You take only what you may find interesting, but it can’t be denied I don’t subtly raise the questions of what shade she will inevitably choose for herself. Nothing is truly black and white most of the time.

I hope you found the interactions just as interesting. At this stage, it’s admittedly a bit more difficult to make Meltryllis interact with anyone without attempted superiority or belligerent attitude breaking it apart, so my options were limited. That said, the options were still nice considering this piece is stapled to her turning point.

My only disappointment is that the CCC supplement couldn’t be fleshed out due to time constraints, because I have no doubt this fragment would have made far more impact after readers spend so much time with Meltryllis. All I can hope for is that the FGO players who know the singularity well felt it best.

I had fun writing this little feel trip, but I’m not going to lie and say there’s not more coming up. There’s potentially many in a row, if I’m to be honest: The next one is definitely no exception. It’s finally time to push another character’s arc forward.

Teaser: Fury and vengeance filled his heart; It was only natural for his class. Moreso with the memories of his past life. Yet, it was made worse by Chaldea’s dishonorable act to defeat him. But here he was, brought here against his will… or was it truly? Even if he cared little for humanity’s plights, the noble beast had wishes of his one. Of all of them, one hopeful wish echoed endlessly, wishing to be answered… But he still wasn’t about to trust humans with that wish…

Omar Ali

Former Vigil Engineer,
Now Chaldean Engineering Division

Fragment 86 – Fragment 102 Looks
Fragment 103 and Beyond

Debut: Fragment 86
Affiliation: Task Force Vigilance, Chaldea
Education: Middle School, Edison’s Tutelage

Heritage: Syrian, Born and Raised
Age: 14
Height: 154cm 
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Teal

Likes: Piano, Contemporary Music, Mathematics
Dislikes: Senseless Warfare, Seafood
Fears: Isolation/Loneliness
Favorite Color: Light Blue

Key Personality Traits: Second Guesser, Romanticist, Keen, Loyal
Specialty: Learning Complex Things Quickly
Hobbies: Legos, Building Things, Minecraft

Closest Companions (Bond 6+ for servants) 

Bond 10
Bond 9Kiyohime
Bond 8Artesia, Edison
Bond 7Mozart, Marie
Bond 6Mata Hari, Nightingale
OCsSkyler, Sergei, Elsa, Pritchard

A smart kid with a mundane life, Omar lost his immediate family during the ongoing Syrian Civil War. The Vigil’s Vanguard Platoon, operating secretly at the time, rescued him from an active warzone. While attempting to find extended family to return him to, they discovered his skill with mathematics and difficult concepts. They found several close family members finding refuge in France, but he expressed his desire to help the Vigil’s pursuit of peace a little less hypocritical.

While being tutored as one of the Vigil Edison’s proteges, he was burned and blinded in a maintenance accident involving an Angel’s hypersonic thruster. After much discussion, he was sent to Chaldea with Vanguard Platoon in hopes of an operation. Over the lengthy waiting period due to complications, he befriended and quickly grew a crush on Kiyohime for all her assistance during his current disability. The crush was mutual.

With his vision restored, he now is now Chaldean staff and a Vigil representative. His current course is to improve his skills and knowledge involving futuristic technology. Since he no longer must conform to regimental standards of the Vigil, his quickly-growing facial hair is trimmed less. Thanks to those family genes genes, he looks much older than he actually is, but his higher pitched voice serves as an alternate reminder.

Fragment 103 Insight

One final relaxing entry in a row before we start rolling alongside some feels again. It’s the season to be merry, but to get there, some pinches of the opposite always help to brighten the highlights even more.

December is finally back in Chaldea. This is but the first of many fragments to feature it since there’s plenty of holiday material to reference and enjoy. To start it off (mostly because of some last foundations I needed to lay), I figured it’d be decent to begin with a perspective of the season from an outside view: An Oni’s. One who loves pleasures in excess, for a season that often revels in good cheer, festivities, and the kindest emotions.

As an Oni, Shuten’s impulses and reactions should evidently swing to the extremes. The difference is Shuten seems to pursue pleasurable excess as a focus. What helps the most is she usually indulges in alcohol, which by its nature is a depressant with sedative effects. That would feasibly make her mood swings far less common and her impulses a bit dampened… by virtue of almost constantly being drunk/tipsy.

That said, the extremes would still be pretty evident, and I tried to show it through both her and Ibaraki. Their vastly different mannerisms also help to convey that Onis, like people, can be wildly different and can’t simply be blanketed as “demonic beings”. There’s a bit of humanizing to them, but at the same time, I hope I made it pretty damn clear they’re still something else entirely.

That made the interactions a lot more diverse, I feel. Those the Onis would get along with. Those who’d be acquaintances by circumstance. The list goes on, but their actions and decisions would be very unusual by human standards. Ibaraki just taking entire trays and going all out against Rama. Shuten being so dangerously flirtatious and suggestive to Kintoki to toy with him. To interact with an Oni is to expect something in excess, and I hope many parts showcased that.

As noted, there was one final scene where I wanted to both relate Shuten towards similar ‘morally questionable beings’ (whether still or reformed) while also finalizing the biggest parts of a closing arc. Again, an issue with writing fragments where every entry is from someone else’s perspective, plus no repeats, means some scenes may inevitably be unfairly shown. The scene for Omar and Kiyohime is one heavy example where showing it feasibly through a vision orb would rob it of much of its emotion.

…But that’s why Lost Shards exists, right? The rightful perspective of that scene can be found there. Complete with permanent author’s note to point the way.

And, as I said, it’s time for the feel trips to begin anew.

Teaser: Despite her personality, so many were nice to her… Too many. It was ridiculous, really. Some even treated her well because of what she supposedly did in that future singularity. But she remembered none of it. Why would she need to? There was no way something like her would have done any of that. Saved these three masters, befriended them… loved them… No. There was no way, or so she so adamantly believed.

Fragment 102 Insight

Another sort of relaxing chapter with some hidden undertones. I wish to give readers that flavors they wish to taste before I start pouring on the feel trips that are coming soon. In fact, it’s practically one after the other, which is quite a strange thing to anticipate considering Chaldea is now in December.

That aside, the focus for this time is Paracelsus. At his core, he is a scholar and a man in pursuit of how best to gift knowledge to others. As expected, it was best shown in his dealings with the controversial Clock Tower team and Janice. In the pupil, he gets to provide that continued trickle of taught wisdom to another. For the Clock Tower, it’s his benevolence and willingness to look past what happened for the sake of making a better future.

That’s why I found it interesting that despite his pursuits, he was willing to stain his hands during Fate/Prototype timeline. With that angle, it set the stage for his willingness to help very early in the series as many recall (and this fragment touches upon again). He wishes to do good for the world, but rarely are decisions actually pure black and white as my series often underlines in passing arcs.

As such, despite his wish not to, Paracelsus can’t help but see himself stain his hands for the sake of a result. “The Ends justify the means.”

It would help make even the little slips, like Janice’s attempt to juggle alchemical ingredients, seem that much more glaring to the caster. He’d still handle it his own way, which includes bottling up his true feeling on the matter. That also wouldn’t stop him from committing to another act even if he knew the method was wrong, as shown in the very last scene. It’s a sad cycle for him, and it could even be said he does it because he believes wholeheartedly in the end result. At the same time, he also wouldn’t dare repeat what happened in a certain other timeline.

Just like with Vlad’s fragment, we get a second reinforcing glint of Chaldea’s current state. Good vibes fill the facility because of the holiday, but Paracelsus still picks out the glass floor they walk on. Despite that, he picks out the beauty of what is a bit more than Vlad’s fragment did through other interactions. In the end, it’s still his fragment, so each bit of this character-analysis style piece had to help color him in different ways.

To no one’s surprise, that meant his bar flaring hobby was going to make a reappearance. I didn’t make it as detailed as I could have, but I’ve shown it a few times before. I didn’t want to harp on it too much, but decided to finally showcase why it was interesting to him. Hopefully the calculations, timings, and so forth gave a new glimpse at just how impressive bar flaring can be (servant or not)

As a final point, this is actually the video that first inspired Paracelsus’ bar flaring venture (Complete with music track):

Teaser: Monster. That was a word the humans used to describe her best. It was fitting by their perspective. She wouldn’t deny it either, but those scared humans merely didn’t understand why they acted how they did. It wasn’t their fault their kind was stronger, but unlike her kin, she often didn’t use that strength unless she really wished to. No, if she had any wish at all, it was to play around and enjoy the many pleasurable offerings life could provide. Chaldea just happened to provide that bounty.

Fragment 21 Insight (Revisited)

I had to fix the viewpoint of this fragment heavily because it was split evenly between Mordred and Iskandar. The latter still gets a tiny few perspective shifts, but they were by necessity as final paving stones for the supplement.

The intent of this fragment was to show multiple sides for Mordred. First and foremost, she has her memories from Apocrypha, which includes that final conclusion she came to when spending her last moments with Kairi. That viewpoint goes a long way to shifting how she acts, but I made sure she wasn’t entirely off base with her lingering frustrations and angers. In the end, even if she realizes what is, she’s still a childish and rough servant.

At the same time, she’s arguably a child at heart. Emotions can get to her, but heaven be damned if she shows it to anyone. That doesn’t mean it can’t slip out if the right servant is present. To me, I always thought her and Iskandar would get along strangely on some level. He also had a lot of possible insight to offer since he fought against Arturia, which included that tense reveal over how he viewed her. All of it made for great setup for things to come.

Save for the usual grammar corrections and refinements, only the perspective needed to be fixed. Nearly every part of the fragment remained intact, which was a far cry from the state of the following supplement. Nevertheless, it served as a great launch point.

Which brings up one last point: I was initially very hesitant on actually doing a supplement. I realized something big needed to be done in order to shift viewpoints and develop characters (and their relations), but I was concerned about purposefully redirecting others towards a related work in order to get the full story. It wound up working out well in the end, even if the supplements were discontinued completely after the fourth one.

Fragment 20 Insight (Revisited)

Obviously community event fragments would remain without a focus: The focus is the community. That made it great grounds for using scenes to set up future developments while also offering a sampler platter of different sights.

Initially, this fragment was pretty rampant with inconsistencies and design oddities. I fixed many things like costumes to interactions in order to make it feel more streamlined and viable. At the same time, I wanted to retain exactly what I wanted from its initial conception: That the community was starting to grow a little more united visibly. They may still have many differences, but it should be clearer to the audience how things are developing.

The Halloween fragment gave me an opportunity to also address some of the costume servants. I wasn’t about to have Caster Elizabeth become a Memorial Essence, so a costume change was the obvious route. There’s a few other curious costumes presented too, both for laughs or outright simplicity. For the overall mood, I wanted to ensure tension remained almost non-existent.

Clearly the only exception is Gawain’s entrance, which is far more aggressive than what canon lines would infer. However, it was a curious angle I wanted to work with to help flesh out the incoming singularity more. It felt like missed opportunity that Gawain wasn’t being at least a bit more confrontational with certain servants (depicted in FGO and Extra), so that was definitely something I doubled down on. He also wasn’t the last arrival dispositions I shifted, whether with the help of memorial essences or not.

Finally, there’s yet a third scene that toes the line between raunchy and passable for the rating. That’s all the series will ever get to, though; I don’t write explicit stuff. All that mattered was what is about to or what could have happened, which either raises emotional tension or gives a satisfying payoff for build up. In this case, just another stepping stone from Chaldea’s often pushy master.