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.
This was the first fragment to directly follow another in terms of themes, design, or subplot/arc. Whereas most early fragments were revised or tweaked to include more interlacing, this one remained roughly the same in that regard. Season 1 can be seen as laying the initial groundwork with a lot of world building to set the stage for everything to come. Seasons 2 and beyond added far more interlaced subplots, arcs, and designs mostly because of everything Season 1 helped set.
With the revisions, I wanted Season 1 to feel more like the rest of the story’s current standard. Thankfully this one just needed a few more additions and some subtle tweaks. Medea’s interaction with Arturia was better characterized, the scene with Lancelot had a lot more introspection/exposition, and I even included a nice cozy scene for Irisviel. Despite all the added stuff, I did want to keep the overall mood as a ‘reliever’ for what happened in the last fragment.
So following the episode of MHX, I let you see Arturia’s take on far more things, along with getting more gifts. Foundation bricks to be used later begin to appear far more frequently starting here. Back then, I also wanted it to be a subtle upswing even if I wasn’t too sure what the next fragment was going to be like; It was that much of a random attack back then.
Everything thankfully still fell into place. It falls better now that everything was tweaked more to my liking and consistency is levelled across the board. Season 1 still remains somewhat unsatisfying to me, but it’s best I leave it there before I inadvertently break it further. Otherwise little calm gems like Arturia’s fragment will take the hit.
As one final note, her fragment is also the last time a servant will get to star in both a fragment and a supplement (Like Mordred), but that was more a fault of how not-seriously I was taking all this back then.
Back when I first wrote this fragment, it would become my first answer to ‘duplicate’ servants. It was my intention to limit the number of similar servants to one and only one back when the series was still very casual. Obviously years later, that door isn’t quite as shut anymore, but my intent to limit duplicates still remain. That meant many, like the swimsuit versions, would be relegated to costume changes or something else.
For MHX, popular or not, it was a potion mishap. Admittedly, it definitely was a bit of a stretch, but back when it was a casual write, I didn’t give it much extra thought. I still feel it was one of the better decisions to make considering MHX is, at her core, still a gag servant despite the backstory and concepts they gave her.
That aside, I still focused on her tendencies as a servant, just as amplified hidden grudges from Arturia’s pride. Namely, the fact so many tease her on certain points. From there, it was a matter of making her focus on those who offended her by means of a potion that amplified one’s emotions to critical levels. I just added a chain of terrible misunderstandings and incidents to put the entire thing into motion.
But despite the tension of being in the situation, MHX was still a gag character. So her fragment needed gags. There were more than an adequate amount spread throughout Fragments’ first “Super” (for Super-length 15k word) fragments. Years later, I still think it’s a fitting addition to help set what sort of lunacy you should expect from this series, even if it does a lot to ground the work with a fair amount of reason.
The revisit was less of a revision compared to some other Season 1 entries. The main fix was Arturia’s reaction at the end. I toned it down quite a bit compared to how melodramatic it originally was so it’s more in line with her character at the time. Other than that, it was mostly grammar fixes.
Despite her fragment being early and a joke, I may or may not let her appear again. After all, there’s still MHXA to give a tip of the hat to.
Vlad had a rather weird predicament with his fragment. There wasn’t really a distinctive moment in his development compared to most other servants I’ve shown, so his entry wound up feeling pretty mellow and ordinary. It’s far from out of place in a Slice of Life, but compared to others it likely felt flat or ‘robbed’ to some extent. It doesn’t help there’s a lot of character analysis on others as much as him.
It’s merely an angle I wanted to work with though. After showing a slice of what he used to feel and see at the beginning, I then wanted to show how he presents and holds himself now. If Vlad Extra is the warrior crusader, then Apo Vlad is the kingly ruler. He holds himself highly and acts with royalty. No longer forcefully under Legend of Dracula, he’s also much more acute and responsive to proving he’s not that.
Again, something that’s not shown as much for the fragment. There was one instance where it could’ve been, and another which was, but overall that’s in part due to how Chaldea has come to see him. What’s being portrayed is more of the mundane results of constant insistence. It made his fragment much more suited to advancing a few other pieces for other subplots rather than focus heavily on his own. Once more, likely making his fragment feel ‘robbed’ a bit, but that’s how the dice falls sometimes. I’m not surprised if his fragment feels more like a character analysis to some.
Hopefully the theme felt interesting enough. Obvious reference in the title aside, it was a glimpse into different sort of silences that one could offer. There’s a saying that what’s not said is the loudest of all, so I wanted to toy with that a little bit for different interactions. Nothing overly spectacular, but just something to play around with for speculation.
The following fragment will also partially feel like that, but things will be ramping up after again. I just need a few bits of set up before I start executing results again.
Teaser: He pursued knowledge as much as he taught it, but he was now far more careful with how he did so; That need to atone for a past war weighed heavily in his mind and directed his course. All he ever wanted to do was progress and assist, yet this balancing act had only grown challenging. For his friends and colleagues, he’d do much, but how many times more must he walk that gray line?
Usually servants trickled in one or two at a time for most past-year fragments. It hasn’t actually been since Season 2 that multiple servants arriving was a common scene. Fragment 100 fixed that, but for obvious reasons if you read the cancelled supplement. Five in a single fragment is a high count, but despite the many fan favorites, I still ensured BB takes the cake.
That didn’t mean the real star of CCC wasn’t going to get an entrance of her own. It might not be what you expected, but I’ll admit it was actually a split 50/50 decision to pull this. There were a lot of future merits to both paths, but I decided on this one because of the number of developments in the future, plus the balance I try to maintain alongside unique situations. Either way, Meltlilith is now a part of Chaldea, and like many, she’ll find even more than she ever expected to have. Passionlip too.
And of course BB, because she’s the star of this one. With her unique disposition, I personally felt she’d need to have her own strong motivations for coming beyond just simply ‘coming to appreciate’ the masters and what Chaldea may offer. As a Super AI from the Moon Cell, Chaldea would likely feel like a step down in most ways, so her interest in staying seemed a bit fickle. Sort of like she did it on a whim, and helping humanity out still just happened to coincide with her interests.
Though BB’s tendencies and playing around are obvious, I wanted to pronounce a different aspect that CCC only scratched upon. She came to be because of one factor, and that sole factor would likely be the absolute ticket to securing her loyalty. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a unique course into ensuring BB’s stay which I hope you’ll all enjoy. It’s the start of a new curious side arc that also advances several others in tandem (like the background progress of Chaldea’s overall security).
No doubt, BB isn’t stupid. She wouldn’t just level her terms outright without doing things her way. She’d play around a bit, do things without asking, and even make questionable decisions despite being under guard. It only fleshed out a few other characters more, but the main idea here was to get into BB’s head, because she’ll certainly be instrumental in some developments to come.
Obviously her studio will play its own little part, but that one is far more lighthearted than other reveals. I’ve purposefully not mentioned the big reveal which has only been teased on several occasions so far, but you can consider this fragment the first outright indication on Fragments’ direction in terms of tagging along with FGO’s plot. I’ll also give another usual reminder for its direction: Whatever its course may be, you have my absolute promise the Slice of Life premise will remain intact.
You’re all here for fun times, heartwarmers, the absolute norm, and occasional tearjerkers. And possibly the romance too. The mood will never go away, which means what’s to come may not be true canon, but it’s certainly FoC reasonable.
Teaser: It felt good to be completely free of the lingering influence of that accursed noble phantasm. Sure the madness was still there, but it no longer made him thirst for blood at the most inconvenient times. He no longer had a daily reminder of how many saw him. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to stop showing and pursuing the image he really wished for in this unusual life.
Despite the considered discontinuation back in September, cancelled supplements, and a slower update schedule, Fragments has made it to see its third birthday. Three years ago I started this project on a whim, and now it’s grown into a ~1,800,000 word monster of a fanfiction. It even gained its own dedicated website over the past year to house plenty of consolidated information, author’s notes, and related media.
I’m happy it’s brought delight to many over the years. It’ll only continue to grow, but far more carefully and planned than when it was just a casual experiment. Here’s hoping to another year despite my career soaking up so many hours.
I hope all of you readers and fans continue to enjoy the ride ahead! I’ll keep the standard high and weaved carefully, but there’s still so much potential to be had with FGO constantly releasing new stuff. Here’s to lots more Slice of Life and all the heart-warmers, light drama, and bits of romance that accompany it!
And, of course, FoC’s theme song video (featured during F99) as celebration:
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~…
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.
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.
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.)