Ah, the original Fragment 13… There’s getting egg on your face, and then there’s pouring the entire carton down your backside. Of all the fragments I’ve ever written, this one was hands down the biggest mistake I’d ever committed too. I’m glad it was such a blatant mistake because it served as a massive wake-up call for how seriously I could (and would) be taking the series for the growing number of fans.
Mostly because, well, Dantes was horrendously out of character in the initial design. A popular, famed character of the series botched because of my inexperience finding direct translations and being so careless as to make adjustments/fill missing info without carefully weighing the pros and cons of doing so. Never-ever-again.
So as not to throw around excuses or reasons most likely don’t care enough to hear anyway, I was just way too off the mark. The few little translations I saw and read were so brief I let myself do some ‘filling in’ without any real thought. The original fragment, though marked as needing revision, would remain a terrible black mark for years until I finally figured out how I could fix the whole thing without breaking the overall thematic design.
Because while I was disgusted with my past self about how off I was, I remained very content with the overall premise of a prisoner potentially finding freedom from chains that still strangle him. Plenty of other series fans loved that design too. I just chose the wrong sort of chains compared to the new rewrite. Before he was trying to prod people into action, which was not who Dantes was. I removed that entirely and patched it to what it is now which, as I’ve asked many to ensure, feels far more like Dantes should have been.
Despite all the fixes to his character, most scenes remained roughly the same. Dialogue shifted accordingly, but some monologues, like Hans’ usual roasting of another, remained almost entirely the same. If the little caster’s dialogue had any shifts, it was to intensify and further focus the roasting for his usual tone.
Elapsed time was another issue with this fragment. It covers roughly three weeks minimum, which is that much time away from seeing other developments in Chaldea. The next time someone did it was Scheherazade, but at least with her, you view a lot of it and some strange happenings of what happened over those 11 days. But it was necessary for Dantes, because intricate problems don’t solve themselves in hours or days. Time needed to pass, but with current subplots and arcs, I’m not much more skilled at juggling multiple around to let time pass differently.
The amount of interactions I compiled remained the same. Minus the tweaks, I ensured he talked with some big figures like those who tried to help during the Prison Event. While that was never shown, like many other fragments, I wanted to provide a glimpse it did. Sometimes we don’t get to show everything we want to, but it’s a matter of ensuring the important bits get shown.
I could still go on about the fragment and how much balancing/correcting I struggled to accept throughout the years, but we’ll leave it here. Otherwise it may end up as a super insight, even if the new-and-improved Dantes fragment actually became the longest fragment because of it (17k words). After my initial gaff, he deserved the extra length and boost though.
For everything else, I believe the new fragment now does a better job showing the minimum standard I now hold myself too.
As one ending note, Dantes’ fragment ended on a piece I still highly recommend playing when you read the final scene. This is the piece Mozart was playing.