Fragment 7 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

I was particularly proud of this fragment when it first came out. I read Altera’s background and wanted her to find a reason to be part of Chaldea, so I decided to try something ironic by placing her with the Romans. Caesar was going to have nothing of it since he loves Rome so much, but I felt like Nero would have been relatively fine with it. As an empress who loves beautiful things, I’d even dared to say she might find Altera as one of those individuals that catches her eye.

That was July 17, 2016… way before Fate/Extella was released. Upon Extella’s release and completion, I was more than ecstatic about what was canon. On a wild guess, I nailed a Nero and Altera friendship that became canon.

So I decided when this Fragment receives its upgrade, it would follow the rest by being as true to its core as possible. That was already simple enough since it was right on the mark. The challenge was exploring Nero’s and Altera’s friendship from the idea that this is Altera recorded in the throne, which means Attila the Hun. She would not have the memories of her Titan Form, but the possibility of getting that and her Moon Cell Avatar would still be possible as a memorial essence. 

It was simply far more likely Chaldea would summon Attila the Hun considering the fame.

To add in the Extella revealed lore while retaining the concept, I simply added the idea of the dream. Altera gets three, but the first isn’t shown. What she doesn’t realize is they’re fragmented memories of brief moments in the Moon Cell. Place that idea into her head, and she thinks it’s simply a prophetic dream, and is wary of sharing it with those involved. Scaring off potential friends isn’t a good idea. 

All that remained to fix was the confrontation between her and Nero. Initially it went straight to the idea about not dressing to her form properly, but I decided to add that critical moment when Nero is just as nervous and wary of the idea this is the Altera she saved. The hesitation would only collapse into disappointment when her fears are simply confirmed, that this is Attila the Hun Altera, and not the Titan child from the true path. Still, she would be willing to keep it a secret for her comfort and simply befriend her once more. This is Nero after all.

I’ve kept the concept Roman was helping her the entire time. It flows well with Roman’s Fragment later, and it was a fun little quirk idea about “Roman helping Altera with Romans.” I felt the doctor doesn’t get enough credit for a lot of things, so I kept that as intended when it was first released. Little did I know how important he would become later as well. Geez, Roman. With all these friendly connections, you’re seriously causing heartache later down the line.

If anyone would like to read the original, I’ve made it available as a PDF download. I’m not worried of theft since my fic collection is so well known at this point. Should it be reclaimed elsewhere, I would likely hear about it. Regardless, it’s in a rather mediocre state compared to the new and improved upgrade. 4,000 additional words and proper grammar checks is nothing to scoff at.

Fragment 6 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

The fragment introduces the altitude difference I recently placed.

Since it was already practically focused on Beowulf, I simply placed more background material before, and in between, caster training sessions. He seemed a little too antagonistic before, but this was simply due to his rather destructive and forward nature. I simply translated that into a training style, since the jump to being a gruff, drill sergeant style instructor would make sense. They are in a war, and he’s simply reminding them to take it seriously or complacency can get people killed. He learned that the hard way at the loss of his most trusted warrior in the past life.

I put a little more light onto his friendship with Nightingale. It provided an interesting dynamic considering his training style would be likely to cause serious injuries, and the female berserker would definitely not appreciate it. I tweaked her usual, almost bloodlust style need to fix an injury at the very end to show she does have a bit of control over it. Namely, in being a little more forceful on Beowulf as karma and taking a very tiny amount of enjoyment out of it.

This fragment was originally decided after glancing over Rin fighting Medea again, as well as the introduction of Sanzang to Grand Order. Her absurdly bombastic noble phantasm matched with Beowulf’s very well, so I knew there had to be some sort of way to get them to duke it out. I also took note of parameters, and Beowulf’s lack of agility/finesse as shown in the America Chapter. Pretty much, Sanzang was free to dance around the slower berserker, but her attacks would not deal as much damage.

Sanzang’s enthusiastic personality was tweaked a little here to be more apparent. I also made her interesting personality traits, like complaining about temperature and getting overexcited, a little more obvious. 

There’s not much to really say about this fragment since it’s very straightforward. A few extra teases for later added to bring in line with my current writing style, but otherwise it’s practically the same as before. 

Fragment 5 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

They’re few and far between, but some fragments do shed a spotlight on staff as opposed to servants. They’re different OCs created to fill different niches and perspectives to allow a greater understanding of Chaldea as a whole. The staff play an integral part of the facility, so it’s only natural some of them should be their “representatives” of sorts. That said, they’re few and far between compared to the servant spotlights on purpose.

These Fragments’ main purpose is to setup an OC so they can properly interact and fill the niche they’re designed for.

So first is a rather weak magus with a strong sense of perfection, Naomi Stolarz. Since the tailor always has business and keeping up appearances in mind, she was an ideal candidate to introduce two of Chaldea’s less accepted (at first) servants: Medea & Vlad. Between trust issues and Vlad’s rampant vampire tendencies due to his summoning circumstances, it was clear how many would see them upon first arrival. Thanks to a memorial essence and the unique circumstances of Chaldea, they were able to curb their tendencies enough to find companionship with Naomi.

Besides Gudao, and possibly Gabrielle – who’s polite to anyone who hasn’t openly threatened her best friend’s life -, she was supposed to be the only employee to give them the time of day (quite literally). I took the design decision of having her lock herself away on purpose due to the loss of her best friend, Olga. The parallels between them are there, though not as clear. While Roman and some others may claim the director to be stiff and forceful, I wanted an OC that showed Olga in a different life. It’s not out of the ordinary to have someone be completely different when no one else is looking, or simply because they aren’t allowed to be themselves.

Which made it a great bridge to make her connect with Medea and Vlad better. She’s had some experience with the idea, but she’s still quietly intimidated and uncertain in regards to heroic spirits. The irony of that is, while she’s unsure if she’s treating them right and giving them enough space, simply knitting with them and providing company was something every other employee wouldn’t do. Their silence was only under a presumption and miscommunication.

The letter was supposed to be the most emotional part, and a inference that the wounds from the first disaster may not have healed for everyone. While there are many arrogant mages and supremacist scientists, some may have forged bonds with another that was killed. The opening scene that shows the cemetery is just another reminder that their situation isn’t as pristine as it could have been, and the current staff got out lucky.

Fragment 4 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

Ah. Drake. One of the strongest servants in the game, and one that continually haunts my gacha rolls regardless of who is the rate up.

The initial fragment was mostly about her trying to peer-pressure Mashu into her first drink, so it was easy enough to adapt it into her own. Like the two before her, she’s a veteran of Chaldea so there wasn’t much need to do any developing. Her current disposition actually fits well with Chaldea if anything, including her view on ephemeral indulgences. 

She has the view that everything comes to an end, and that everything she be enjoyed to its maximum. Whether fighting with the brightness of a supernova before its collapse, or simply drinking herself drunk, Drake has to live like every day is the last… and that works perfectly in the facility. She’s already been doing what many have had to learn how to do, and that’s to simply enjoy what she has and find out how to get more while it lasts. 

Thankfully she’s one of the ones bringing alcohol back, else it will never last…

I did more background into her friendship Fergus and Robin, though only skimming the surface. When it comes time for their own fragments, they will get further explanation above what was needed to secure the tie with Drake.

As with the previous ones, the core of the fragment remains intact. Mashu is still dragged into drinking her first alcoholic drink at Drake’s pleasure. She’s a simple rider, who only wants others to learn to enjoy themselves too, even if it means she starts drinking them down like water when you give her a fruity drink. Slight miscalculation on her part, but then again, it was only support so be an introductory drink, right?

Perhaps Mashu could have just given her treasure or something else to spend as a bribe, though that’s an entirely different precedent she would have set for herself. This was initially the original plot point, but the idea of getting Mashu drunk (thanks to the air) for the first time during the Ibaraki event shifted the decision; There was far more play in getting her drunk than continually bribing Drake into not making her drink, especially when there was little to nothing for the pirate to actually spend it on in Chaldea.

There wasn’t much more setup needed in this chapter, since Fragment 5 will be the one that discusses employees in a lengthy manner for the first time. It simply came down to a nice slice of life incident involving one of Chaldea’s more uniquely problematic servants. Drake doesn’t cause trouble too often, but when she does, it stands out.

Fragment 3 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

This one received a pretty hefty overhaul to make it attune more towards a servant. The obvious choice was Emiya, but Tamamo, Jack, and Nursery Rhyme still get plenty of screen time to help make the archer’s day a little more rewarding.

His presence wasn’t established as well before, which is why I assume some thought he was OOC. Thanks to his interlude, which shows that he was teaching the master the basics (in game), he was one of the first within Chaldea. The start point of Fragments is just after America four months later, which means he’s had that much time to adapt to his new environment.

To better explain the reasoning for his changes, I introduced the driving force at the very beginning, that many should have already guessed: His promise to Rin at the end of UBW Route. Take that, the memories he now has access to since Fate System works differently, and the considerable amount of time and allies… yes, his newfound outlook is very much plausible.

I gave further backstory in his relation with Irisviel and Arturia, along with a small introduction to Memorial Essences. It does not displace the complete design explanation in Kiritsugu’s fragment, which shows a visual example of how it’s done, and explains a new Noble Phantasm can arrive to unlock a plausible class change.

The core of the original was left almost entirely intact as planned, and makes up the latter half of the fragment. Yes, this means the cute interactions with the two child servants have all made it through the revision just fine; The kitchen is full of extra sweetness as originally intended. It helps it acted as the destabilizing event to his otherwise mundane routine, and allows him some small glimpses into how others have also progressed. 

A trifecta of examples is now completed to better showcase the range of Fragments. Jeanne’s was a story of a servant’s first steps in appreciating a new environment. Nobunaga shows numerous interactions with different servants for a personally driven purpose (short or long term). Emiya is from the view of a long-time veteran, and depicts how greatly some have changed over time. These are three universal concepts that appear often in the work, so setting the foundation that they’ll appear should provide new readers with an idea on what to expect.

Fragment 2 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

Some Fragments don’t offer as much development as others, but that’s simply because the spotlight servant has been there long enough. At that point, it’s simply gauging how they are in their new environment and why they turned out like that. It’s best showcased through a day in their life, or an unusual occurrence that disrupts the routine.

 That’s the case for some later Fragments, and Nobunaga was a good candidate for this pathway. The original fragment was simply a shooting competition between her, Billy, and Drake. I’ve since upgraded it to give a little more personal investment from Nobunaga through pride and reputation. With the focus now on her, I was able to add some small background pieces that applied to her, including a reference to a famous battle with some mountain monks. It’s also been bolstered by a few snippets of her interacting with others, namely her two competitors and her next-door-neighbor Okita.

I have also tuned their personalities a little closer to what they should be. Nobunaga’s more haughty and doesn’t like the idea of being shown up in a competition. Billy’s more enthusiastic as his lines and background imply, but I also gave him a more noticeable Western twang. It irked me DW skipped out on the iconic American dialect. Drake was spot on already, but a few lines of tweaking helped make it more obvious.

The circumstances of the competition also created an opportunity to introduce two new mechanics that hadn’t been shown in Fragments: craft coins and ascension.

I decided on coins as opposed to cards so that Illya & Kuro could remain unique with their class cards. Coins also have a more symbolic meaning to the organization, since Marisbilly’s wish was centered on wealth and prosperity. In addition, the coins offer a durable, easy-to-carry material that can store prana to activate their abilities. 

Ascension was combined with leveling and skills for simplicity’s sake. It’s a broad stroke, but the idea is ascension process would automatically boost a servant’s saint graph to its next maximum amount, and increase their skill efficiency in the process. It’s sort of a mashup between Extella’s “Money is Power” system and Grand Order’s material requirements. Simply put, the quantum pieces are the real factor.

Fragment 1 (Post-Upgrade) Insight

It was technically Jeanne’s fragment to begin with, but it felt very lacking compared to my new standard of writing. This now sets the precedent for the other upgrades the early Fragments will receive.

The original was pretty much Jeanne getting to sing without any substantial background basis. Yes, she sung the hymns with Saint George to cleanse Siegfried in the French singularity, but that was it. So I decided to bolster it further by having Laeticia be a rather good singer herself. Also allowed me to create a nice new flashback scene where the driver is more inspired by Jeanne’s voice rather than just her conviction and abilities.

Generally an easy fill in for the beginning fragment: Not too many feels, and just the proper amount of surprise. Jeanne’s looking to tone down her seriousness a bit, and her friends are willing to help her with that. The singing also makes it easier to break the ice and find something fun she could do as a hobby. Very straight forward without complex themes to allow the new reader to jump in rather easily after the prologue.

In addition to showing Marie hanging around with Jeanne more, as well as the extent of their established friendship, I also introduced the start of her relations to Arturia and her friends. It was left out before, but the revision let me properly place the teases like I do in later fragments. There are also now significantly more name drops so other servants’ presences are shown. Chaldea doesn’t seem so void anymore.

Quantum Pieces are introduced, though not thoroughly explained. There are also name drops for Memorial Essences and Craft Coins, which will be explained at later times as well. This is on purpose so the beginning doesn’t drag on harder than it needs to. We’re all Fate fans, so I know how annoying listening to world points can get at times. I at least try to blend them in and make them interesting to learn about.

Last note to my French readers: You’re not alone in your slight irritation of calling “Le Chevalier d’Eon” just “d’Eon”. Grammatically it’s wrong, but Fate doesn’t use his real name of Charles… so it makes quite a quandary especially considering Sanson’s first name is Charles. I’ll just be using d’Eon, and it will remain as much of a small irk.

Writing Insight III: Setting the Scene

A look into Vacation Fragments

Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase Escalante, Utah

As many of you are aware, there’s a new entry type into the series called Vacation Fragments. Obviously, these take place completely outside Chaldea and are sparse due to how limited they make interactions. It does allow the bonds between a select few servants to blossom, but that’s only part of the draw. The real appeal is simple: What could be in a foreign land.

Travel is an exotic daydream to nearly all, an exciting yearly opportunity for many, and a livelihood for a select few. Regardless of where one stands, it never loses its appeal. An escapade into a distant land, in a language you don’t speak, with sights you’ve only seen in brochures, ads, or pictures. It’s very related to fictional works like stories, movies, and more: Because they take you out of your own life to temporarily embed yourself in something entirely different.

These ideas are what I am trying to ensure in every vacation fragment: to instill wanderlust.

I do what I can to take the reader to the location through sensory information and more, so you feel like you’re there. I usually do it with my photography, but writing makes it a fun an interesting challenge. I know I’m hardly known for my brevity (read: lack thereof), but it’s a fun challenge of keeping these sprawling landscapes and environments contained within so many words; That’s in addition to the main draw, the Chaldean servants.

Their experiences would differ, but they’d share many of the exhilarated thoughts as ours. They wanted to be there, and now they’re letting a new world envelop them without the chance of serious hostility. They’ve fought for a long time, and though they have their breaks in Chaldea, these vacations are like huge rewards they can redeem as they please. They may not be as out of place since they know the language, but they’ll certainly feel out of place.

So we come to immersion, but for the servants and yourselves, as readers. I’ve had some practice writing different locales with the supplements, but those were fictional. This is now reality, and I intend to portray it as such whenever it’s a locale that’s not created in the Nasuverse: I’m detailing Locations you can physically visit.

Ginza yon-chome is real. Antelope Canyon is real. The Grand Canyon is obvious… And that’s what I wanted to depict truthfully. Not stuff like Fuyuki, which are based on real areas but aren’t actual places. Instead, I opted for full immersion by trying to target locales you can actually feel for yourselves. It may also give the reader something extra to appreciate and envision while they’re there. Who knows?

That’s where my career actually proves itself extra handy for my hobby. Researching locales I’ve never been to is a staple planning measure. It’s easy to get through, so for Shiki’s fragment, it made the prep work a breeze. All that was left was using pictures and video to try and replicate the atmosphere with words. More of a challenge for me, but I was satisfied it came out well.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Then there’s ones like Geronimo’s fragment where I can really fire on all cylinders: Places I’ve personally explored and visited. The sensory information for nearly every locale in that area feels more natural. In addition, I’m more accurately able to depict the attitudes of the people you meet, both for tourists and behind the scenes. I’m able to paint the subtler colors most will miss if they’re not there to purposefully understand a world of its many aspects.

It also means I’ll be able to bend experiences to better fit the servants’ presence. I can also tailor vacations to offer experiences they need, just like Geronimo’s fragment did. But for me, the best part is it means far less time spent on research and more on writing. Geronimo’s fragment practically flew onto the document.

So that’s how future Vacation Fragments will feel and be designed. There will definitely be more from locations I’ve personally travelled to, and others that I haven’t. Regardless, the end goal will remain the same: To make the location equal parts meaningful/personal for the servants, and beautiful to read about.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

The NSFW tumblr prune bot doesn’t do a very good job. Thanks to it chopping random insight pages on the tumblr (like Asterios’ final ascension art), it has become apparent Fragments of Chaldea needs a better home.

Warning: You may not want to subscribe to newsletters and such just yet. You’re likely going to get bombarded by 20+ emails on some days while all the insights are being reuploaded.

And so it shall be…
…As soon as BB stops screwing with the CSS and helps reupload stuff.

Fragment 89 Insight

This is the first new insight posted to the Fragments of Chaldea homepage, mostly because Artemis’ final ascension art would’ve likely been smacked by the tumblr bot.

Wonky NSFW bots aside, we’ve arrived at another dual servant. As shown with Jekyll and Hyde, both play a part in the fragment, but one takes the spotlight. This means I can feasibly use them again if I focused on Orion next time, but with the growing number of servants, it might be put off until later. Working with my personally-limited one time spotlight rule can be quite the jigsaw puzzle, so it pays to have extra pieces.

So Artemis takes the reins for this one, and pursues a mission gods and goddesses are well known for: Watching and judging others. In this case, it’s because of Achilles’ growing success with winning over Atalanta. The goddess isn’t about to let her devotee do that without her own permission, bringing about a callback to how the Greek pantheon often threw their own say and hand to spin fate as they pleased. Some things just don’t change.

It also allowed me to portray the relationship between the two in more interesting lights. Orion’s not always looking to flirt with other women, but he still does. Artemis isn’t always an airhead, but she still is. I simply painted the lesser known sides of them to give them depth through various scenarios and situations like the tense air being near Lobo or the comical attempt to hide herself when having dinner with Chiron.

Artemis is an extremely bubbly goddess, so that left the gates open for many friendships to show. That aid, time is limited, and the plot-like theme demanded focus. So I was forced to only infer some of her other friendships she usually has in favor of the ones that will matter for pushing Achilles’ subplot further. Though there was a pretty heavy focus on Achilles’ development and depth as well, it worked out fine because Artemis’ reactions and planning showcased her own thoughts and beliefs just as profoundly. Win, win.

So by the end of it, the reader should be leaving feeling satisfied from a very straightforward fragment with little twists and spins. It was my intention to sneak this one out by Christmas since it would fit the feel good mood pleasantly. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays everyone! I’ll return in the new year with something a little more laidback.

Teaser: Even if she had mad enhancement, her reasoning was absolute. Her thoughts were still crystal clear, but the compulsions were worse. It was truly troubling at times, but Chaldea was so accepting. They always welcomed her, and her beautiful children treat her so well. It gave her so much time to think, but she often got lost in those brooding thoughts and headaches. If only she could finally grasp what she’d often only dreamed about.