After a nightmare of her brother getting killed, Octavia wakes up to find Riannon attending to her. The first thing she asks for is her sword because it’s her brother’s and thus precious to her, and fortunately Riannon has it nearby. Riannon also explains that Avalon is a place of refuge, so Octavia doesn’t need to worry about how she was a soldier of the Empire. Arthur, however, isn’t happy about Octavia being here and still sees her as the enemy, so Arawn forces him to determine her true nature before doing anything else. Octavia meanwhile walks around Avalon and overhears Morgan talk about the Akaeda (lit. red branch), an heirloom that she still hasn’t had any luck finding. She also meets Rathty and sees Arthur training with his sword, and she comments on his swordsmanship as rough. This causes Arthur to want to challenge her, and Octavia doesn’t back down, but Riannon arrives in time to stop the fight.
Octavia continues to act solitarily, so Riannon tries to get her to understand that it’s lonely to live life by yourself. Octavia sees what friendship means firsthand after Morgan both apologizes for not being there when she woke up and helps Octavia back on her feet. The next day, Octavia offers to teach swordsmanship to two children who have been following her around, and Arthur comes less hostile towards her. In talking with her, he learns that she joined the military after her family was killed by them because she wanted to change them from the inside. Octavia later helps Arawn and company identify some of the crates that they got from their raid, and one of those is filled with treasure. In particular, Morgan notices some red coral that resembles the Akaeda that she’s been looking for, but she claims that this isn’t it.
Seeing Morgan run off suddenly, Octavia follows her out and guesses that what Morgan was looking for was indeed coral. She also figures out that Morgan had a serious illness when she was young, so Morgan’s grandfather had probably used half the Akaeda as medicine and the other half to pay a doctor, thus showing how much he loved her. Morgan gets some solace out of this, and afterward, Arthur is grateful to Octavia, but he still wants to fight her once to determine her true nature. The two thus spar at dawn, and after a heated match where Octavia gets thrown back while successfully blocking Arthur’s charge, Arthur accepts her. In the aftermath, Octavia gives a speech about how fighting is not about killing your enemy but rather about not giving up hope and praying for peace and happiness. She also vows to share the fate of all who are there as a single swordswoman.
I know this episode gave a lot of character development to both Octavia and Morgan, but I have to say that I was a little bored by it. It’s not just that there wasn’t much action until the final moments either. Morgan’s quest was not nearly as interesting as I had hoped it’d be because it ended up being something that was relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things, and it was all over just like that. And it didn’t help either that they brought in little kids to help soften Octavia’s image since one of my pet peeves is little kids in anime, particularly the bratty variety. Of course these kids weren’t really bratty, but I still didn’t really like them, and there wasn’t anything particularly interesting about them either.
All in all, I really only found two things worth talking about this episode. The first is that, despite her explanation, I still don’t understand why Octavia would join the people who killed her family. Or, more to the point, if her goal was to change the Empire’s leadership from within the military, then she hasn’t really accomplished much other than Bubulcus, and it doesn’t seem to be the driving force behind all of her actions. The other thing this episode made me wonder is if they’re moving towards pairing Octavia off with Arthur. I thought she was supposed to be one of Arawn’s wives or something, but that wasn’t played up at all this episode. As the preview shows though, Octavia’s story isn’t done yet, and things look to be heating up again with Lidia returning. The preview also piqued my curiosity because it showed Morgan pointing her bow at Octavia, which would seem to indicate that Octavia betrayed Morgan in some way, either in the past or present.