Fragment 99 Insight

Many of you are probably expecting Fragment 100 to be the special one, but honestly, Fragment 99 would technically be the big 1-0-0 since the prologue counts. That said, both were planned to be pretty nice with their own twists, but 99 gets the win for most sentimental prowess.

I wanted it to be special, but I didn’t want it to be overboard. Regardless, it was best done by someone who was often shown in the background content to watch, photograph, and see things from an outside perspective: George. The FGO canon photographer of the servants. That made his fragment even more special considering, well, that’s my career.

And before anyone asks, yes, that minor cameo character served as my not-quite-Stan-Lee-style cameo. Nothing outrageous or overwhelmingly influential, but just enough to help flavor what should be. Essentially, just another supportive character who plays a tiny role in someone’s new life experiences.

In this case, it’s helping to birth the idea of George’s motivational presentation by planting the seed of thought early: What photos can do. Photos are mere snippets of time. Each one is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. Nearly all can forge a story, as those who took standardized creative tests are likely to remember. Thus, what better way to make a subtle recap of everything than to show the servants a subtle recap of the good times.

Many may feel it’s familiar, and you’re not wrong. It’s sort of a spin on the Fragments of Chaldea theme song and video I made last year:

Feel free to play that again and reread that scene if you wish. Obviously some servants have yet to appear because I edited this as an overall mood clip, but I digress. The point is it’s just as much sentiment for you as it’s supposed to be for the present servants. Complete with a name drop.

As a neutral perspective, George also served as a nice way to close the current saga. It wasn’t exactly true closure and an end to the misgivings, but it’s far better than what could have been. Time is essential to everything, and some things can’t be rushed. He still accomplished what he needed to do.

…Only to be reminded that Fate is often fickle, and trouble can loom its head multiple times. Far too many of you have been asking instead of waiting patiently for what was inevitable, but here it is. The CCC supplement falls between this and Fragment 100. I swear though, if any more of you pestered me about it, I would’ve tried to figure a way to delay this EOR further. It was that annoying.

But let’s not end this insight on a sour note. Not when the fragment was purposefully designed to help curve away from the darker tone of recent entries towards newer arcs to come. Maybe still a bit darker and foreboding at times, but a rollercoasters ahs smaller drops after the first big one, no? I still aim to make the ride enjoyable.

Teaser: It felt good to be completely free of the lingering influence of that damn noble phantasm. Sure it was still-

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Nuh uh! Not if I have a say! There’s a lot of you not reading the tumblr answers or the little notes. Tsk, tsk. You would have known like some of the others have. Well? What did I tell you? I wasn’t going to take that long, S-e-n-p-a-i~…

Fragment 98 Insight

Remember the teaser for Penthesilea’s entry? I spun it a little uniquely to incorporate the general concept of her fragment. It’s also a conclusive pointer towards what I did to ‘tweak/adapt’ her noble phantasm’s Ex rank in a curious way.

Obviously stated, it’s about pride. Achilles’ words had slammed her viciously because it essentially disavowed everything she worked for. So, I thought, what if I challenged her mad enhancement’s control by introducing another vicious attack on her psyche? What could be powerful enough of a situation to cause her to snap from her trance, even with Achilles in front of her? The answer, once more, was founded on the concept of pride being everything to an Amazonian.

No need to go further into it since you read why it did it though, and through her eyes, nonetheless. But that’s the theme I thought would make for a great central point in this little saga: The effects of pride and the weight it carries, both good and bad.

I won’t go full into all my dropped hints and perspectives about this since I’m saving it for next insight, but I hope you read carefully. Maybe even read it and the previous fragment again if you so desire, because I designed this to be quite the onion. Fragment 99 will be the capping point.

That aside, I did what I could to color Penthesilea uniquely. Even with the soul-crushing realization of what she did, and how much it weighs on her soul, I wanted to ensure she was still strong to her core. She’s an Amazon Queen, born in an age where women are very often looked down upon in combat. As such, she should be tempered titanium in all regards, but that doesn’t mean she can’t feel.

Fragments makes a point to try and humanize every servant, because at one point, they were. Mythical perspective and summoned quirks aside, I do what I can to expand that realistically. In this case, it’s done through a very troubling, time-stringent situation with a lot of far-from-perfect answers. Thus, the choices, reactions, and interactions should go a few miles extra to flesh everyone out further.

This includes all who merely talked to Penthesilea, one way or another. There was a giant list of possibilities on who could approach, and while the number was culled down, the fragment was already stretching on. Super fragments are already excessively long. So there’s a few more interactions that will pop up in 99 that won’t be too invasive. For those shown, I hope it made a few strives to help color some others who weren’t heavily-involved in this saga.

But, once more, in all the chaos and information to absorb, I hope you spotted hidden gems, what-ifs, and fuel for future rockets to lift off!

Teaser: In the chaos of life, it was often easy to remember the troubles than to remember the good. The great ones. Fleeting gems, both big and small, happened all the time, but it was often so easy to forget, or fail to see the beauty of what often is. Not all could remember, savor, and cherish each moment like he could, but he had the means to fix that. After all, he’d been blessed by God with a hobby and the skill to capture the best moments.

New Page – Rooms & Luxuries

It’s been delayed for too long, but the page is finally added. In the new Rooms & Luxuries page, you will find small descriptions that act as fresher points for locations within FoC’s Chaldea. It can be found under the Series Information tab.

I’ll try to get to the re-writes of the missing Season 1 Fragment Insights shortly. Between that and shard requests, there’s a lot on the plate, but Fragment 98 needed priority attention.

Fragment 97 Insight

It’s been a long time since I got to make a truly suspenseful cliffhanger. I hope it’s not a terrible two weeks for those who have to wait. Though, now that I think about it, it’s also finals in some parts so the focus may be elsewhere anyway. I digress.

There were small dips in mood, like in Raikou’s ‘problem-introductory’ fragment, or Lobo’s entry, but they remained lingering issues that just stuck into your side like a small thorn bush. As much as I insist on keeping the Slice of Life feel and mood intact, there is a minor balance that must be maintained. It is met with this small arc, since not all problems can be so easily avoided. To get to the juicer Slice of Life possibilities, sometimes you need to go through the darker parts of town.

So, this fragment serves to twist your mood alongside its star, Achilles. It’s meant to prep and brace you for what’s to come by slowly eliminating the hopes that this could end in a positive light. That the dark path at night can be avoided. In this case, it can’t.

Obviously, that made this fragment a great bed for a well-known concept: The five stages of Grief. In such a short time span, you watch Achilles go through all of it while the clock ticks down. A prideful, mighty hero has to face the consequence of his past action, but must do so in a situation where he’s still a fish out of water: The homelife. The life he doubted he could ever have, but Chiron insisted he could.

After laying down the peeks before this fragment, you catch glimpses of Achilles trying and working out of his element. It all comes full circle, where he’s grown to acknowledge that he has to be more than just who he was before. His final trial is now presented before him, where he’s weighed everything, but still shoots for the impossible as only a defiant ancient hero could.

But his enemy is no longer just a faceless warrior. It’s someone he fought before, called beautiful, and essentially spat on her grave. Following her, he’s glimpsed the first signs of a person who is also quickly following her own curiosities. He sees another servant, another otherwise calm and driven individual, who wishes to stay, but had the bad luck of the draw due to his actions. Most importantly, this is someone he’s decided to face, even if he was resolved never to do so again.

You can see it as his final test on whether or not he really will make a great parental figure. But what is a father supposed to be to their family if not a hero? So that driving point helped fuel Achilles through the stages of grief to his final, grim answer at the cliffhanger. Before, he would do it for himself, and sometimes for someone he truly cared for. For this, he decided with only a shred of himself as consideration, if only because of what he means to many now.

I find myself content with most fragments, but I feel like this one is one of my better entries. In my opinion, at least. I’m looking forward to writing the next fragment, which I hope will end up just as profoundly resonant. By the end of this important arc, who knows. Maybe some of you will come to hold it as your favorite to date. It’s already among my favorites to write.

Teaser: Pride. It can make many push themselves into actions many would question. Yet what would they know? Some things just couldn’t slide. Some acts just couldn’t be forgiven, for there was no greater crime than to crush the hard-earned pursuit of a lifetime after conquering a mountain of trials. So let the ignorant call her petty, but the mighty queen refused to tolerate such a stain on her prestige. Her pride would never allow it. (If this teaser wasn’t obvious enough, then I’ll spell it out too: Brace for one of the darkest entries in Fragments’ history.)

Fragment 96 Insight

Now the fun begins with one of the darker subplots for the series. It will be handled rather quickly compared to most, and the urgency obviously has a lot to do with it. It’s my goal that it will help develop the characters swiftly and realistically though.

As a note, I’m taking some curious creative routes with Penthesilea’s Mad Enhancement. The logic should explain itself as you read more and unravel my adjustment, but it will make plenty of sense in two fragments. It triggers as expected, but I merely added other circumstances to prove that it has its own quirks, sort of like how I did Nightingale’s when she acknowledges Elsa’s mental health study likely supersedes her forceful techniques.

That said, the explosive ending shouldn’t have overshadowed Irisviel as the lead of this fragment. It was merely the most jarring hook in the entire fragment. For good reason, to be fair. Most of her fragment is leisurely, day to day stuff. You get a bunch of closure on some things, a few interesting points in others. Overall, it’s mostly calm small talk and literally normal days, as the title would lead you to believe.

It’s mainly because the premise centers around stress and anxiety. For a homunculus who never understood the urgencies of humans before, it would become an unwanted concept. But it would be one that must be addressed as a mother and a curious individual who wants to keep experiencing tthe positive parts of life. So when something truly stressful happens, and Irisviel is left with her hands tied, its impact is a little more forceful because of all the ‘small, curious concerns’ and near-misses everyone read just moments before.

I say it from time to time, but there’s really not much more to expand upon for Irisviel. Her interactions are straightforward and based off how a mother would act about them. There wasn’t much to really make her grow or develop considering the real explosive instance was the Memorial Essence, or receiving new family members. So, save for the tense development in the fragment, this was mostly just about drawing extra lines in friendships, making new ones, and helping to color the lives of Chaldeans a bit more.

As a note, if Gordolf isn’t acting quite like how you’d expect him to, take what he revealed thus far into consideration. He may be a bit of an oaf, but I’d easily argue he knows what he’s doing too (Paper Moon incident in LB2 as example). Give it a bit before some of his more comedic stuff pops out, but for now, he’s new, and he’s certainly trying not to step on any servant’s toes.

Teaser: It’s strange how fast things can change. One minute, you’re on a breezy plain. The next, your ship is caught in the wrath of the gods and you’re wondering if you’ll make it to shore. Had this been his era, the answer would have been obvious. Now, after many weeks in Chaldea, he’d come to understand things weren’t as straightforward anymore. Being a hero was far more difficult this time around, but that’s who he was. Nothing would stop him from staying that way.

Fragment 95 Insight

Fresh from Medea’s entry filled with paranoia and second guessing comes… Scheherazade with even more paranoia and crippling fear. Starting Season 5 on a somewhat gloomy, yet uplifting, note.

There was less foreshadowing this time around because I needed to focus a lot more on Scheherazade’s issue. Mainly because the Cancelled Supplement VI meant most of the defining had to be done in her fragment, which is roughly what the Epilogue was supposed to be. I think I did a fairly good job squeezing it all in there, even if it went over a bit.

So the key issue was obviously getting around Scheherazade’s crippling fear. Getting around, not destroying. As proven by Agartha canon, it’s so embedded into her saint graph you can’t exactly just wipe it away. But FGO Summer Event Part II and other information about her gave way to an obvious solution. Add in Agartha’s clear character development for her and the fragment’s path was obvious: Give Scheherazade reasons to want to see tomorrow besides simply ‘not dying.’

With that in mind, I hit most of the basics, and capitalized on Anishka’s closer bond with the caster. I tied up the lose ends from the Cancelled Supplement, then made sure to hit most of the referenced people in her materials log reasonably well. I think I did a fair job starting up a few key connections while also showing that, even though Chaldea is friendly, some won’t hold their tongue at something they can’t agree with. Fergus, Medb, Hans, and Blackbeard would be key points for this.

As a note with Arash, the Material Line certainly made a possibility obvious, but it’s not one I’m going to pursue. Obviously I mean Scheherazade’s ambiguous idolization to crush on her childhood hero. Without any doubt, that couple/ship has unbelievably high potential. A heroic man who would gladly lay down his life to protect those he cares about helping the woman who looked up to him growing up, who is crippled by the fear of death? Add in they both really appreciate children and that could’ve been something beautiful.

But, as usual, I laid my foundations heavy for Fragments, and I don’t shift them. Mata Hari and Paul got him instead, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a profound idol/fan friendship more than possible to accomplish something similar. Again: paths, branches, possibilities, and more are cut, pruned, and made available based on the infinite web of choices going forward. I’m just trying to keep building something unique that works.

Starting in the latter half of next fragment, though, get ready for the ride to get pretty bumpy. Or really bumpy.

Teaser: That Memorial Essence was still the greatest gift she could have ever gotten. Before, she was just a tool for a cause. Now she was a mother… a wife… a kindred soul with so many friends, and not just a homunculus. Her memories of another life were colored more by the new ones she made everyday in Chaldea. It was a dream she never knew she needed, yet it made her a bit greedy. In a good way, of course.

Fragment 94 Insight

And again. The word creep struck. But I wanted to get a mix of information drops in here while ensuring this fragment stayed firmly Medea in outlook and design. It was a perfect spot for her fragment to show just how relaxed she is… yet so very, very herself with all the caution, paranoia, and assertive action.

I wanted to be careful but equally daring with Medea’s fragment since she is a personal favorite of mine. I think she deserved better, and there was plenty of more room for growth than what was offered in UBW, Labyrinth, and even FGO. So I gave it to her, gently laid pieces and roles throughout the series, and made this fragment the capstone of who she was allowed to become. Hopefully it felt rewarding, relaxing, and even sympathetic.

So we got to delve into the Medea that could’ve been. The Princess who was given genuine companions, allowed to explore hobbies new and old, and freed from the overhanging burdens of a traditional Holy Grail War. I wanted to ensure her outlook was painted accordingly, but still wound up her, the experienced Witch of Betrayal. Someone who knows good things could drop guards and let the bad events sneak up to stab them in the back. An idea that, more than ever before, brings dire consequences to her because of how much she’s come to cherish.

A bunch of subplots were advanced as usual, alongside the revival of some new and old ones. Sprinkles as usual, but I think the real treat for everyone was the cameo and two newest arrivals. My plan to involve Artoria Lily was long in the making, and also one of the secret reasons I was content to place Arturia’s material body transformation. Though OG Arturia has ‘ascended’, there’s now the cuter, vibrant version in her place. Medea sure is happy about that… but not quite about Mia.

The finalization of the season long mystery of how Lateral Entry truly works is now completely unveiled. As inferred in the final explanation, not everyone will be able to get through it, but it makes a malleable loophole for me to bring in some duplicates. Heavy emphasis on some. Again, don’t expect swimsuit or Christmas servant or any such gags. But who knows who might pop in with its newly opened doors?

This fragment also served as a perfect marker to slowly ramp up the tension for the placement of the next cancelled supplement. As mentioned a few times before, this marks the unusual end of Season 4 to herald in Season 5, which will have more tension and a shift in focus with sub plots. It’s all a matter of brick laying, and I’ve left more than enough dormant powder kegs to leave one hell of a mess should the fuses intertwine. Who knows what I’ll do since things have been pretty peaceful, all things considered.

Brace yourselves for the emotional rollercoasters of Season 5, and I hope you find my summarized twist on Agartha enjoyable!

Teaser: After everything she’d done, all out of an ever-lasting fear of the end… This was where she wound up. Chaldea. A place that filled her with terror for what could happen with so many mighty spirits. Spirits she barely knew, who only understood she had been their secret enemy just recently. But it was here, or death… but how long had she staved off her demise? Her fear was immense, but it crushed her that all she could do was hold on to Anishka’s promise that here she would come to truly feel safe.

Officially Endorsed Spanish Translation

Fragments of Chaldea is pleased to announce we have Seba, a new translator to the team, currently working on adapting the series into Spanish. The prologue fragment has been released on Fanfiction.net and will continue to grow with time. Please feel free to show your support for yet another adaption of the series! Links and credits have been updated where applicable.

Fragment 93 Insight

When you line up enough pegs and move the right pieces into place, entries like this become both viable and believable. They don’t need inclusive plots, but they can still advance some other subplots for other characters. This fragment just has a small, simple motivation as its driving force and theme, but that’s the beauty of true Slice of Life. It’s literally just a calm glimpse into an actually simple day in someone’s life, just with a bit more magic and wonder than most.

And that’s why I wanted Jack’s fragment to come later, when everything was lined up. If there’s any servant that can pull off calm and sugary scenes back to back, she would be one of them. All it needed was a tiny little reminder at the beginning of who ‘she’ was and where ‘she’ came from, and that would be enough heartfelt tragedy to make a reader nod to the following scenes and go, “you deserve this.” Or at least it should have if you have a basic modicum of compassion.

So, it became less of a delving into characters, and more of a giant gauntlet of sugary scenes. I even has the narration and exposition take a rare dip into the character’s own mannerisms to add some extra sprinkles. There were far more scenes I could have added, but two super fragments in a row was already a ridiculous idea, so I cut it down to the good ones. One lucky scene did get moved to the next fragment for some extra sugar there though.

The Prillya Collab’s re-release was rather timely since Jack’s fragment was one of the ‘plausible’ fragments that could serve as an insertion point. I’ve had contingency and quick-release plans for Miyu set for a long time, and now that she’d entered, it was just a matter of choosing the closest upcoming fragment. She merely got lucky one was practically right next door, and that the slip-in fit well with the overall theme of warmth and finding happiness. Jack now has yet another friend to play with, when the ice thaws a bit more.

There was originally an experimental scene towards the end that actually depicted the opening moments of Achilles and Atalanta’s scene, but I decided to remove it when SKYS said it was a bit too jarring due to POV shift; Understandable, really. I may add it into the Lost Shards as a romantic standalone since it was only lightly erotic and far more of a romantic mood.

Teaser: She was nearly unrecognizable these days… Nearly. She’d been so used to betrayal and backstabbing it was second nature to have dozens of failsafe plans. She still had some, but they didn’t include just herself anymore. No, even compared to her other summoning, this one had given her a peaceful life that had almost everything she desired. But it was that growing peace that had her concerned, for her and her newfound friend… because that was usually the calm before a storm.

Fragment 92 Insight

I knew long before I would write this one that it would be unorthodox compared to the vast majority. For one, it’s the first fragment from an outsider’s point of view. Saber Alter is still Vigil and has no true connection to Chaldea other than being at the facility. With her mindset, that means she would have no loyalty nor obligation to do anything more than what’s necessary with them. That’s the point I wanted to drive home, but it came with a very distinct feeling.

AKA, she’s purposefully alienated herself and engages only enough to get by.

It might be a bit of a letdown for most, but that’s what it amounts to even years after her summoning. It was a window to shed more light on some of the stationed Major NPCs who she has a much closer connection to. It also offers some initial views as to why Saber Alter had come to accept this unit. Namely, they’re tough enough that they’ve earned her respect by modern human standards. They’re comrades that won’t hold ‘a tool’ back, and actually accept her cruel and vicious demeanor. It offered a good bed to partially ‘mellow out’ with time.

Thus, her loyalty to them is profound and obvious throughout the fragment. Her interest is absolutely nonexistent save for a few cases, which makes interactions with other servants and people little to none. It helped emphasize her isolating herself, but I still wanted some key interactions she would definitely have. So her puppy, who’d wormed his way into her heart, was one way to do it. A furry pet that attracts attention and barrels its way to its curiosity tends to be a forceful hand.

Her interactions with Camelot are especially profound in its nonexistence. It should say a lot she’d rather associate with Jeanne Alter than her former comrades and her counterpart. There’s plenty of room for speculation on what she truly feels about it and won’t acknowledge in her thoughts, but the main point is that she doesn’t want anything to do with them… yet.

As a small tangent about context clues and theory crafting, not everything gets pulled together instantly. Just keep your eyes peeled on what clues I’ve dropped, be careful of the red herrings to throw you off, and take note of what servants or allies have appeared in the Fate/Series that may have potential to shift the dynamic. It’s literally like spinning a growing web, so to speak.

With two new servants and a bunch more background involving the Vigil OCs, and some much needed bits for Gudao too, I hope it still wound up satisfying even if it probably wasn’t what many hoped to see. It’s merely what was, and more set up for what can be. It’s also partly an insight from a partial military perspective, though I dialed back on the military terms, acronyms, and other stuff so it wouldn’t be overwhelming.

The music played during the arena fight should need no introduction:

Teaser: Their wish was unreachable, but it had been far surpassed long ago. Never before had their collective cheered so happily. They were summoned an unloved wraith, doomed to be forgotten, yet they’d been gifted everything in this second chance. A loving mommy. A kind sister. Lots and lots of friends and caring people. The warmth of the womb was a distant memory, long forgotten in favor of the happy childhood they finally found… and it was only getting better! (Brace yourselves one of the most heartwarming and sugary fragments to date.)