After busy schedule juggling and delays, Their Guiding Light – Excalibur Edition is finally cleaned of its lingering typos and post-revision rough spots. I hope.
Its grown by 20,000 words for description, so there’s some new material and introspection interwoven into the previous scenes to bolster its coverage of the main characters.
It is now available on Archive of Our Own as well as Fanfiction.net in its new form. All that remains are some minor tweaks of Season 1, but nothing dramatic like what was done to some previous fragments (13 as an example).
This insight will be a little longer because Raikou provides a nice opportunity: To show how I can interpret characters and their dispositions while allowing room for growth for an otherwise ‘difficult’ individual. So, let’s get started.
A tricky thing one needs to remember when reading fragments, is I often blend the servant’s point of view with my own narration. It’s been more prominent in the later seasons, but it’s something that should not be forgotten, especially when it comes to servants with mental pollution or mad enhancement. It means this fragment has a lot more hidden meanings and interpretations than most.
I’ll use the scene with Anishka as a primary example. There’s a small snippet from her coming out speech:
But it was her soft reassurances that ‘mother will always love her for who she is’ which ushered the saddest of tears and wails from Anishka; It was terrible to feel the heartbroken sobs wet her clothes. Yet, it warmed her heart that she pined for her mother’s acceptance so much. But it wasn’t surprising. No, Raikou knew all too well how much acceptance could mean to someone, and offered it wholly to the master in need.Fragment 90, Scene III
For those who read without acknowledging the servant’s personal thoughts and disposition are influencing the narration itself, they might have missed the hidden meaning and just accepted it as her strangely crying to Raikou. It’s actually a hidden callback to Anishka’s fragment and history. Her mother died years ago, and she loved her parents. But she was always scared of revealing the truth of her sexuality to her parents, and it’s become a regret she couldn’t tell them before they passed away. Her parents who loved her for who she was.
It’s a tiny snippet, but Raikou thinks she’s crying profusely because her mother (who Raikou sees as herself) accepts her for who she is. The deeper truth is, Raikou is voicing the words Anishka dreamed her real mother would say to her, but she’ll never get that chance.
With that in mind, you may find I have more foreshadowing, keys, and building blocks scattered about the place than usual. You’ll also notice there’s a recurring trend with Raikou’s thoughts and patterns which very much coincides with her fundamental rules regarding her and her mad enhancement:
These are the canon circumstances involving Raikou, which makes for quite the interesting character to work with. That said, if one looks close enough like I do with every character I write now, there are windows of opportunity. Two counter points to these rules can safely be drawn, and are sprinkled throughout this fragment to showcase the possibilities to come:
This allows Raikou room for growth while being faithful to her difficult condition. Regardless, she still retains intellect and reason for most situations, so providing the right stimuli can lead to fun or warm interactions. Coddling Anishka, playing with Giovanni, and trying to help Tomoe are two some such offerings.
But then there’s the big question I’m, surprisingly, very rarely asked. What determines when I decide to use the servant’s one-and-only fragment? Why was Raikou chosen for this spot? And that mainly has to do with fit, critical juncture, or moving development pieces into play. Most are chosen specifically to fit the needs of my plans for the future while also providing nice entertainment and insight for you. Raikou was no exception.
One will notice in this fragment there’s quite a few subplots going around now, and light has been shed on some darker ones. It’s a balance to ensure they don’t completely invade or overtake a fragment, so servant choice plays a big role. In this instance, consideration was taken for who could be a good ‘observer’ for three subplots and two OC information reveals that need to be advanced.
Three underlying similarities are hidden problems. Two have to do with Japanese Servants. One has to do with a mother and her baby. Another has to do with a child. One has to do with Minamotos. Another with mixed blood individuals. As you can see with these examples, servants who haven’t been used are slowly crossed off the ‘viable’ list. As I go about the similarities, it often starts pointing to an ideal character to use, usually one who has a lot to do with one or multiple of the ‘points I need to advance or introduce.’
In this case, Raikou became an obvious choice.
From there, it was the usual design and development, then knitting it all with a connecting theme, or themes in this case. They emphasize Raikou’s fears of Chaldea finding out who she is, and then realizing she’s not the only one who’s suffering beneath it all, or hiding her own secret. While it won’t act as enough of a mental trigger for someone like her to change her viewpoint, it makes for another solid building block to help push her character in the right direction.
I hope that gave you some more insight into the whole design process.
Teaser: It was surreal, really. If he blinked, he could envision his world like it only ended hours ago. But his era was long gone. Sure, many would turn to admire him, though it wasn’t the same. Yet, walking down these unfamiliar streets, he felt very much home, as his friends likely did. It even made room for thought to cap off many months of pondering. Perhaps, like Ireland itself, it was time he truly reconciled and laid his past to rest.
As traditional to end a supplement, this is the theme song for Equilibrium.
It’s another strong piece in its own right, but it was pretty hard finding one that captured the two distinct paces of this supplement. It wound up working pretty well though, at least for its second half with all the heroics.
There’s no real twist with Equilibrium’s theme. It just carries themes of finding balance within oneself and for Chaldea. Da Vinci wasn’t exactly a difficult character to develop, but a bit of flustering and stress can go a fair way. Though a transitional supplement, it’s still my first original one. Likely my last in that regard. I’d rather not get any ideas for making additional original summaries when there’s still so much ground to cover.
With that said though, I hope you guys enjoyed the journey!
SKYS kinda pointed out the story’s ending could double as an ending for the entire series. I guess it could have, but obviously there’s a lot in the plans. It’s funny how the smallest projects turn into longer endeavors than anyone realized.
I placed all the final pegs into the place for everything I have set for Season 4 (which is a metric shit ton) . The Vigil play a major role in keeping Chaldea out of the public’s eye while also addressing concerns that “not enough is being done to help humanity.” Obviously they can’t do everything, but the effort they’ll put in will be significantly more eye opening than most other things. It also frees Chaldea from the horrors of more political turmoil, which, after this supplement, you guys should have learned to hate if you hadn’t already. Politics, even as simple as this, is never fun.
Their influence with Chaldea will extend far into the future with their alliance, and you now know the two major points: Transportation and a small, elite garrison.
There have been a lot of cameos in place, and quite a few familiar faces will be joining the fray. I always enjoy setting up pegs so people can start drawing lines, and there will be a lot of line drawing and interactions to come. As a small recap, here’s all the cameos made alongside the numerous OCs. (Color coded for faction. Light Blue for UN, Red for Mage’s Association)
And, of course, I had to make one final sentimental note just to drive the motivation of moving on, and the reason for doing so. For those who didn’t recognize the coin, it’s a modified version of this Anniversary gacha CE:
Finally, the modified ending that many of you remember if you’re a JP player. I didn’t forget, I just simply moved it and made it a bit more personal to FoC. (Props to ArchadianJudge from reddit for this edit)
It took a while, but it all finally circle back to slice of life. Time to continue doing what the series always revolves around… with significantly more lightheartedness now that the “huge” threat is out of the way. Content for EORs and Lostbelt 2 will be addressed another time.
I hope you all enjoyed the original supplement. It was a pain to craft and address all the important points, but I think I managed to cover the bases fine.
This works for most of it due to its relaxed nature. There’s an additional song for Scene VIII, but it is being posted separately. This works for the rest.
This seems like a nice chapter to end on, and it very much could be, but I still have a few final pieces to slide into place for the transition. A nice and steady shift from the underlying tension to the much more lighthearted and promising core of the series faithful fans know well. The Epilogue will ensure that.
Even though accounts with the other two major powers are practically resolved with this chapter, this is still a supplement for Da Vinci. With everything she’s been through, she hasn’t had as much shining moments, so this was the opportunity to weave all of it together properly into a loose idea: Da Vinci as a leader. It addresses the potential shortcomings along with natural, human doubt after everything she’s been through in the past, hellish week.
I thought I’d make it a little more memorable and influential by setting it somewhere that would have extra meaning: Monte Ceceri. If you didn’t know the significance of that place, you should now, at least. I felt there were nice comparisons and parallels to be covered with the little second-half discussion with Pritchard.
Special thanks to Coe-Illium for translating the Italian writing on Da Vinci’s monument!
I tried to ensure the dialogue stayed as natural as possible considering the topics, and hopefully it came out right. I think the ones that toed the line would probably be during the meeting with Barthomeloi, but nailing down her character during diplomacy felt like a tossup. She’s supposed to represent absolute aristocracy and prestige, but at the same time still held a sort of ‘disconnect’ with her current task. AKA, it only has to do with her because of her position as Vice Director. She’s rather not deal with the triviality, but she has to uphold her long-established name.
The negotiations themselves also should have gone smoother than most expected, but that’s also due to the heavy circumstances surrounding the Clock Tower’s current condition. The UN received a lot of collateral, but the Vigil and Chaldea came out of it almost completely unscathed by comparison. They also have servants and a whole lot more sway than the association would like. With them in shambles, this would no longer be a clear-cut case of “Mage’s Association and Yggdmillennia”: They actually have a solid chance of breakaway, but they’re doing it correctly.
The unofficial soundtrack is special this time.
It’s one of the only ones I’ve ever chosen with lyrics, but it holds a little special meaning for the ending. It should definitely fit the final two scenes and their meaning. Many who voraciously play the Civ series should also already know the lyrics to this, and how much they fit the overall feeling of the final parts. Christopher Tin did an amazing job composing again.
Even better? The lyrics were written by Leonardo da Vinci himself, and only adapted Chiara Cortez.
Funny. I split it into two chapters just so I wouldn’t be cramming everything and Chapter 9 still winds up being 15.5k words long. I got everything I wanted in, at least.
This is the last of the action. The rest of the story just smooths out the last of the political thriller, so I hope you enjoyed the remaining fight scenes for what they’re worth. One was inevitably an outright stomp considering Flauros’ weakened state. I tried to make it as interesting as possible, or at least give the other fight scenes a bit more dynamic to compensate.
There’s still more cameos to come, though, since we’re settled back in the real world. More loose ends to tie, because regardless how well the Vigil did it, if I’ve driven anything into your heads with this supplement, it’s that politics are an ass and a half.
As traditional with the supplements, a new servant makes their way to Chaldea. Technically Who We Are broke that with Roman’s sacrifice, but I lop that and Equilibrium together since they’re back to back. This time it’s one of the duplicates who would have just appeared as a memorial essence otherwise. Even if I put my own world rules into play, that doesn’t mean I can’t make loopholes like Fate/ traditionally does. As I said before, though, not everyone will be coming to Chaldea permanently. That doesn’t mean cameos and fair showings for compensation won’t be a thing.
I know some were likely hoping Bazett or Kairi were a master, but I ultimately decided against it for the same reason other masters aren’t getting another chance: They’ve had their story. If you want to see them being a master, you have Apocrypha and Hollow Ataraxia. Is it enough is both subjective and debatable, but they’ve had their showing as a master before. So as an answer for any future inquiries: No, if someone was a master before, they won’t be one this time around. Doesn’t mean they still can’t appear and interact, obviously, but there won’t be a command seal pushing them to do so.
Unofficial Soundtrack (Battle with Flauros)
The tricky thing about a Military Thriller is striking the balance when it came to descriptions. I’m limited in what I can do with writing when it comes to explaining the situation in a timely manner. Too much descriptive info, it turns into a droning encyclopedia of an event. Too little, and there will probably be more confusion than being too specific. This also applied to the military terms, acronyms, and identifications.
Needless to say, there was no easy ground, but I still attempted it with context clues and spelling out a few things initially. I didn’t delve too far into descriptions for more common items, but went into detail with something unique and unseen. I saved some space by throwing in proper identifiers while also painting some literary imagery. It was annoying, but I found I wrote it far faster than I thought I would.
Additionally, I wanted it to be a mix. As much as the Vigil plays a huge role in all this, so does Chaldea and their servants. I split the attention between them evenly, though the remainder of the battle leans more towards Chaldean involvement for… well, obvious reasons. I also threw in a few other necessary perspectives to give the reader more information and necessary angles.
All in all, it turned into a giant orchestra that I hope melded together fairly well. Those who aren’t as keen or lack military experience may get confused by a few things. Those who are in the know might raise an eyebrow at some others. It’s sadly all a part of keeping balance to ensure the story is readable and not as confusing as the actual fog of war. It helps there’s a lot of “magic” frolicking about that I can use to help stage situations for certain reactions.
Otherwise, everything is finally coming is finally coming together, and I’m able to throw a few little servant fights that may prove a bit interesting compared to the others. Like the Vigil base scenes, I can’t go too in depth, but I should have given plenty to make each situations unique in their own way.
Unofficial Soundtrack: There’s options this time. Feel free to choose whichever you think fits better!
Best Played during the military sequences (Scenes III+)
Best Played during the military sequences. This is my personal recommendation between these two.. (Scenes III+)
This last one is different. It’s my personal pick for the overall battle. For those who played Ace Combat 4, this music was pretty symbolic and memorable because the event has a similar feeling to Chapter 8′s feel (plus tail-end of 7).
For those unaware, I gave a light introduction into the aggravation that is the Rules of Engagement. Modern warfare follows sets of rules and regulations these days. While they serve an honest purpose, there are also times they’re barricades that put things in jeopardy. It makes for a perfect addition for a Political Thriller with some Military Thriller flair. As I said, though, I gave a light cruise into it rather than the full-blown smorgasbord, but it should have remained a bit frustrating to sit through.
All the chess pieces are now in place for the final confrontation (which pretty much already started), where some of the final connections will be made. Plenty of information should be available for you to likely speculate and piece together the entire “how did this all happen”, but the last entries should cement those fine.
The supplement may be an entry longer than intended, but I’m trying not to rush anything. I want everything to fall into place accordingly because this is the transitional piece. It’s blending world building into a story so that moving into Season four will be fluid.
Went with a basic name for the Operation. Nothing too fancy or crazy. Operation New Dawn gets the message across fairly well. I just decided not to get too creative, unless I accidentally wind up with an operation as terribly named as “Operation Grizzly Forced Entry.” (Yes. That was an actual operation. I shit you not.)
Fun final fact: As I said before, nearly all of the Vigil’s technology is just upgraded versions of what technology is already available. That definitely includes the airplane/ship the cruise ship saw and the modified aircraft that took down the ICBM. The ICBM is also very much real. The funny part? It’s actually outdated, which is why it was a “bit” more feasible to steal (For a heavily guarded, road-mobile ICBM anyway). I’ll provide the links so you can think about what else lurks hidden away in the countrysides.
Suspenseful buildup throughout the first part:
This one best starts at the very end of Scene IX:
I felt like battles haven’t been as big lately, but I’ve definitely been aiming to change that with the genre shift. Hopefully these servant battles aren’t too confusing and offer just enough of a taste of what’s to come!
More lore drops, but like I said, I’m trying to space it so it’s not all in your face at the same time and competing with the plot. That’d just be pace breaking. On to the big point though: Task Force Vigilance.
When I was designing the Vigil a year ago, I wanted them to feel unique compared to the other big ‘orders’, so to speak. Chaldea has its servants and magecraft/tech hybrids. The Clock Tower is all about Magecraft, secrecy, and aristocracy. The Church reveres and follows the spiritual path while (mostly) staying away from the taboo (magecraft). So what should the UN’s special branch have?
Easy answer. They’re the fighting arm the United Nations, a worldwide organization that tries to solve the disputed of it over 190-member nations (nearly all I the world). They should exemplify unity at their core, and use technology for the advancement of the non-secret world. However, technology and science isn’t something that can just be accelerated to the point the Vigil has. They achieved it thanks to their first servant, and they didn’t even know it yet:
Thomas Edison. I did consider other servants, but ultimately, he was the best choice for what I needed.
He’s not a powerhouse like the other servants. He’s a famous name, but he doesn’t carry his weight as well in battle compared to older legends. What he lacks in mystery, he makes up for in his ability to improve. For a military organization based around regular weapons, he’s the greatest addition they could have ever gotten. If he could modernize the (somewhat wonky) 1790’s era tech and make robots, what can he do with a modern available tech? Spoilers: A metric fuck ton.
Fun fact: Every technology shown in this chapter and beyond, save for probably one, has roots in experimental and/or less-well-known advancements in reality. These are all things Edison could have improved to a greater level and beyond. Keep that in mind for the fireworks show coming next week!
First action scenes
Scene VII and beyond. Can work for the tail end of Scene VI too.
So yea. Massive lore drop, or at least as much as I could manage without risking the dialogue and scenes going terribly off to one side and/or stilted. I had to get plenty of reveals and some tidbits of information out of the way though, so I split it between action and dialogue to a fair amount. More ‘fluffing’ of the new faction is scheduled for the remainder of the story in a naturally unfolding way: We’ve reached the third genre: Military Thriller (specific subset of action).
As I said in the original note at the end, this faction had been planned last year and simply has more room for “viability” thanks to some developments in Grand Order. If you don’t know what I mean by that, I’ll give a simple example: EOR4 started off with the US military cordoning off the area around Salem where the modern singularity displaced it. Instead of them, or working with them, the newly unveiled Vigil will be a fine replacement that would make more sense. Just one of the examples though.
They’re an organization I needed to put into place properly, and so they were slated for the transition supplement without any doubt. They have a role to fulfil for Chaldea that will be unveiled later besides just being allies, but they’re hardly superfluous: They’re a powerhouse and necessary for the wider picture.
The last of the unknown variables was pretty much flat out unveiled too. All that really remains is the circumstances of the plan and his condition, which I’ve left plenty of clues to figure out what the potential final confrontation will likely entail. If you were getting a bit bored with the political wheeling and dealing, you’ve got a welcome break coming up, because not everything can be solved with talks and simple chess movements.
No unofficial soundtrack for this one since it’s mostly talking.