Tears to Tiara – 09
Having heard what happened to Octavia, Lidia finds her bound and gagged inside a crate. The two of them go back a long time, and Lidia still holds a grudge for a duel that Octavia won. She would like nothing more than to see Octavia suffer, but the military decided Octavia’s punishment, and Lidia leaves her in the crate. Arawn and company meanwhile have arrived at the military base thanks to Rathty digging them a tunnel there. To get back at the Empire for the previous battle, they sneak into the base, and Riannon takes a group to raid the warehouses while Arawn look around. Ogam happens to find the boxes full of corpses and shows Arawn, but they don’t understand why the Empire would be gathering bodies, so Arawn has Ogam look into it. Arawn then comes across the crate that Octavia is being held inside, but before he can question her, he’s interrupted by Arthur. Arawn finds out from Arthur that they kill prisoners, so he doesn’t let on that there’s someone inside the crate, and their attention is soon turned to how the Empire’s troops have found them.
In order to escape, Arthur and Arawn set fire to the base and successfully distract the guards. On their way out, they ride past Lidia and make sure that she knows that this is payback. After returning to Avalon, they’re happy with all the food they were able to take, but there’s one empty crate that Arawn knows had Octavia in it. He doesn’t deal with it right away though and instead talks with Ogam about the corpse situation. Ogam found out that the corpses are being put on ships and sent somewhere, and what’s even more strange is that the Empire is gathering corpses without regard for which side they belonged to. Arawn has a suspicion about what’s going on and hopes that that’s not it. Later that night, he goes back to the warehouse to look for Octavia and finds her. Still loyal to the Empire, Octavia tries to fight him, but he parries everything she throws at him and eventually notices that she’s injured. Arawn puts away his sword because he can’t kill someone who gave up on living from the start, and he questions why people don’t try to live freely without throwing their lives away for law, honor, or pride. This has a disarming effect on Octavia, and after Arawn suggests that she forget everything and live quietly somewhere, she faints.
For whatever reason, I really enjoyed rooting for the good guys’ victory this episode. Maybe it was because they put some nice heroic music in when Arawn’s group was escaping or maybe it was because we got to see Lidia all riled up, but either way I liked it. Come to think of it though, Lidia was surprisingly emotional this episode after being a fairly calm through the last battle. I would guess seeing Octavia again is the reason behind that, and her losing her cool probably foreshadows her downfall (it would be nice if it were Octavia who gets to fight/kill her). In any case, the big mystery right now seems to be what’s going on with those corpses. I can envision the Empire trying to raise an undead army or something, but that’s probably a little too outlandish. Maybe they’re thinking of getting into the soylent green business…
I also have to marvel and point out again how well the animation quality is holding up halfway through the series. The action choreography has been very good, but even non-action scenes like the one between Lidia and Octavia in the dark have been pretty well done (in particular, I liked how they were reflected in each other’s eyes). The WHITE FOX team continues to exceed my expectations in this regard, and I hope it lasts all the way to the end.