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.

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.