Mashu’s fragment wound up being a strange way to explore her friendship with others. We get light glimpses of it throughout Season 1, but I didn’t quite make a solid statement over how others servants come to see her. This little sick episode was made to hopefully remedy that while giving a few first reveals on who Gudao was going to end up with. By now, I was set on what was going to pan out, and even had some of Season 2 mapped out accordingly.
There was still a supplement to get to though.
One interaction I wanted to cement before then was Mashu’s relation to Arturia; Jeanne too for the FGO Trio poster reference. The King’s inklings were far more vague before, but with more precise translations, I shifted any Camelot viewpoints about her to knowing exactly which servant saved her. It was a rather easy revision, and it even allowed me to add more introspection for her.
Those two were far from the only ones to visit Mashu. With the smorgasbord of visits, I intended to show many have come to see her as a dependable ally and friend, even if she has so many reservations herself. I was careful not to overly establish what readers already knew, but I had to reiterate for the sake of making everything clear.
Originally, there were a striking number of scenes that shifted perspective away from her. Astolfo’s remains a culprit, but it wouldn’t have made sense if I shifted Mashu’s perspective completely over that scene. I figured some exposition or a slight perspective shift here and there could slide without being too jarring.
Looking back after the small changes, it’s a little ironic. I try to limit the number of focuses a character can get, but technically, Mashu has a fragment and co-stars in two supplements. That’s far more than most, but I think being FGO’s star demi-servant means she can roughly get away with it. She did have one hell of a journey that only continues in the Lostbelts.
This fragment was originally inspired by watching that related Prillya episode where Kuro and Illya had a cook-off. I realize that, yes, it can be roughly assumed Illya and Kuro see each other as close sisters by the time Chaldea rescues them, but I believed there’s still that often expected thorn of sibling rivalry/jealousy. Emiya might not by the Shirou they remembered, but he’s still their current older brother.
So that’s the angle I went with, and was content to leave. With the help of Jack and Nursery Rhyme, Illya was going to try and win newfound respect from her brother. The competition just happened to have all different flavors of spectacle, from eyebrow-raising to light comedy: A community event that later took out more perspectives while retaining some reveals.
In the revisit, I amped up Illya and Kuro’s interactions because the latter admittedly got pretty gimped and hand waved due to growing length. Now it feels far more in line with what I intended with their feelings.
I made sure Blackbeard’s little reveal remained intact. I found his true depiction in FGO to be disappointing, so back then, and even still, I do what I can to ensure that he remains a cringey otaku yet still shows those clear signs he was a ruthless cunning pirate feared around the world. Cooking was a strange way to do it, but it served its purpose from a different angle.
In the end, Illya’s fragment could have possibly done more to bloom new developments, but it happens later in the series anyway. Again, just a matter of balancing through revisions to bring the early works closer to the line.
By the time it was Sasaki’s fragment, the lone-character spotlight was a mandatory design. From here on, I found myself making very little corrections to get rid of multiple viewpoints. One or two remained by necessity.
This one was a return to the standard norm of living that was seen in the earlier fragments. Simplistic interactions, run-ins, and musings would form the foundation for many ‘mundane’ fragments that help level the series’ overall tone. As such, the only thing I needed to add when revisiting this fragment were a few teasers, brevity on descriptive introductions, and dialogue flavoring.
Back then, I wanted to bring out his character as Chaldea’s literal first servant. He’s seen it all. He’s grown a routine and stuck with it. There wasn’t very much change in his disposition save for being mellow, so the intent was to show how he gets along with everyone. That included Medea, who he still teases and ribs as his way of ‘getting back’ at her for their grail war. By all means, it’s a much more subdued response compared to what canon infers.
The series does take note of some fanon and other popular ideas, but I make it a habit not to let it influence the work in general. In the end, I’m still the one who has to forge the path ahead where every choice has repercussions. Relationships were the big ones. That’s why, even though Martha and Sasaki are a pretty popular thing, I decided to just leave them as friends. That still persists to the end as a staple to the idea not everyone needs a relationship. I still aim for balance.
It was around this time I started doubling down on the series’ own in-house designs. The rooms and staff were already a clear indication this was a divergence, but I decided to adapt some game mechanics besides just saint quartz. The most notable was using multiple copies of a servant to upgrade their noble phantasm, but this had diminishing returns. This game design became the foundation for a very important world concept: The Memorial Essence.
With it, I was able to explain why duplicates don’t appear because of what happens when someone to similar to an ‘original’ is summoned. It opened a lot of avenues that would have likely remained closed off otherwise. The Emiya family, without any doubt, is the poster child for what sort of avenues could be opened. Without it, only vague recollections of feelings would have been viable, but I used it as a means to make the targeted Slice of Life possible.
Of course, that led to a lot of introspection on Kiritsugu’s part. It’s the first glimpse of how Memorial Essences can completely shift how people view the world, so there was a lot of room for refinement. I did add quite a few lines and made some paragraphs more precise, but I left some reveals from future fragments where they were. The important bits were covered so that was enough for me.
Arguably, Kiritsugu’s FGO personality was lost as a result. It’s very apparent he’s now far more aligned to his Zero self. It was one of those first decisions that influence everything else to come, but by now, I was adamant on picking a course for the world and going through with it. My choice was to rebuild the Emiya Family and give them a second chance, and so I went for it, with the inclusion of Illya and Kuro arriving as the prominent statement of direction.
Little had to be touched to bring this one back into line save for some perspective shifts. For the most part, it was like Anton or Dante’s fragment. It was another of the growing number of sole-focus fragments that would be the series’ staple.
As you may have noticed, I will be taking the time to remake and upload new insight pages that have been missing for months. Fragments 9 through 15 have already been reuploaded, leaving only six more to go. I should have the rest of them done by the weekend.
As a result of this, there may only be one new shard for the next weeks since these soaked up some time. However, the fragment will remain on schedule.
This entry was one of the last ones I made where focus was split between multiple groups, but wasn’t a holiday or special fragment by design. Its overall theme remained the same: Gudao has a day off now that Gabrielle is a fellow master and can tackle some awful paperwork. Mashu accompanies for him, and together they share a sampler platter of many different activities.
Of course, when you have Mashu being so close to Gudao, it was only bound to attract attention from those looking to be with him. At this point in the series, it’s still Kiyohime and Tamamo. As a mark of development, their little day together reminds them of how it used to be as penpals. They just happened to be fighting over the same master this time.
Like most other later fragments in Season 1, this one only needed to be revisited and not revised. The overall premise and design was comfortable and focused, but just needed tweaks to reach the raised standard. The trick is ensuring the original remains as is without knocking anything over.
A lot of scenes still remain where they have a bit of point of view, but I dialed it back a fair amount without jeopardizing the little sideshow. In its place, you got a bit more of Gudao’s perspective and thoughts and some additional dialogue/interactions with others. All of it was further refined to ensure Gudao gets portrayed as a different, calmer master who’d experienced a lot (and almsot opposite of Gabrielle), but remains another human who wants to enjoy his time accordingly.
As usual, it also introduces a bunch of new servants who had already been there. Character Bloat is best dealt with in minor increments.
While it didn’t do anything as direct as Anton’s fragment, I had more drops of inferred feelings for both Mashu and Gudao. I did it back then as a setup for the first supplement, which was already being planned and designed accordingly. Of course, it too got a revamp to its current state, but I’m glad many designs and decisions still remained great foundations despite showing their age.
After a work trip and several weeks to think about an anon’s wakup call review, I’d started taking the series a bit more seriously. The first glimpses of planning ahead, interlacing stories, and so forth. The biggest take was the focus on a single viewpoint rather than multiple. I was insistent to make sure the series still felt like a collection of shorter stories that together built a giant world view (Short Story Cycle), so it was still first steps onto a new design path.
Thankfully Astolfo’s entry lacked any sort of tense seriousness. Why would it have too much? This is Astolfo, the crazy paladin famed throughout the community for being carefree, enthusiastic, and, of course, lacking in reason/logic. So I capitalized on it with a Slice of Life treasure hunt which takes all sorts of wrong turns even he wasn’t expecting.
Every instance and interaction was tailored to help diminish some of the lingering tension from Dantes’ rather heavy fragment. When I revisited the fragment for grammar and tweaks, I found I was content with how everything fell into place. It wasn’t anything astounding, but it certainly fit the design path I was going for. As such, pretty much nothing changed except for the addition of a few foreshadowing drops, red herrings, and the usual expected fragments medicine.
My only personal qualm was that it doesn’t have too much development for Astolfo. It’s simply a nitpick of mine, but I know that it’s fine without it. Astolfo doesn’t need the development because he’s already a perfect fit for this zany place. It’s simply a matter of true Slice of Life feeling a bit more ‘unusual’ when following after such heavy introspective and challenging fragments like Dantes’ new and improved one. Nothing wrong with them, just a bit of rocky turbulence when shifting gears to smoother speeds.
Honestly, if I could only write more simple stuff like this, I’d be content. But that’s what Shards can be used for, right?
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.
It was a gamble back then, but it was one I was glad I took anyway. I remain very vigilant on what I do with my OCs and what role they play. First and foremost, they remain in supportive roles unless it’s their own fragment. I don’t want any of them to be extremely prominent because, honestly, they don’t need to be. The servants will always remain the focal points, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some others helping to flesh them out in new ways.
Not everyone needs to be a master or big shot. There’s a lot of staff caught in the crossfire too.
That’s why I thought it’d be fitting to have something from their point of view. A normal staff member who has adapted to this crazy new life and is just trying to get by. It also includes a bunch of rather mundane tension and problem-solving that seems rather out-of-place in a fight to save the world. That was my point. This whole ordeal had become so ‘stable’ that many learned to deal with the tension and live how they pleased.
So that brought a new OC into the forefront for their introduction: Anton. When all is said and done, he’s a specialist with a very niche capability and barely any influence compared to most others. He’s a pushover for the most part. At most, he has two servants he can call companions. Again, it helps normalize some servants and the situation while also portraying what it’s like for nearly all regular staff.
Despite his rather domestic problems, he gets through it with the help of friends. It’s a very slice-of-life sort of deal with the first glints of the introspection and insight the rest of the series has become known for. There was honestly almost nothing changed about this fragment because it was so close to the current standard (save for grammar and description brevity).
It was also the first fragment with obvious intentions for romance. Initially, I was actually going to ignore that genre completely. I know, right? Hilarious considering what the series has flourished with. However, despite the problems that may occur if I shipped someone with an OC, I thought it’d be a nice touch to give some servants the happiness they were looking for. In this case, it was a ray of light for Frankenstein from a previously rocky foundation. Again, something I was glad I dared to do.
Overall, this fragment remains one of my pride points… which is hilarious considering the fragment that followed it.
I didn’t have very man overall plans for the series back in 2016, but if there was one I always had, it was this: Both Gudao and Gudako would be masters. Most would pick one or the other. I thought multiple would be a good twist, and I don’t regret that decision. My only caveat was that Gudako would be a nickname, since Gudao was already a weird name back then even before he became Ritsuka Fujimaru.
Since every fragment back then didn’t even have a ‘centralized’ servant until Arturia’s fragment, I wasn’t focused too hard on viewpoints and introspection. Hilariously, I was more focused on way-too detailed descriptions with appearances and introductions; Something remedied from here on. So, this fragment needed a bit of a rework to feel more like Gabrielle’s since it had several other viewpoints within it.
Now it feels far more like Gabrielle’s actual fragment while still world building. As usual, it introduces some new rooms, other servants who have been present, and now some additional thought and beliefs on a new master and their take on what they need to do.
The background for Gabrielle remained unchanged since I was satisfied with it. Being best friends with Gudao, their shared upbringing, and her personality disposition were heavily used in many later entries, so those were untweakable anyway. She’s also far more assertive, happy-go-lucky, and impulsive, so those were merely further elaborated here. Last thing I ever want to do is pull a retcon on my own work. So I just worked to tweak and shift things accordingly to bring everything further into line.
As one final curious note, I decided variations of the summoning chant would be used to recognize a master for Chaldea rather than summoning the servant itself. It would sort of feel like the entire system acknowledging they’re worthy of the task, or you could believe it’s just another ostentatious exaggeration by mages to feel even more prestigious. Either works really.
Whatever the case, from here on, Gabrielle was sure to become a big staple of the series, with all her quirks and grievances in tow.