I’m sold. This has been a very good run so far, and to be fair, it hit on something I always liked in action pairings. Range and Swordie.
The scene starts off with Duke Thenardier giving his son two dragons to burn down Alsace. Both father and son’s contempt for the region and of Tigre are evident. Back in Zchted, Tigre and Elen square off at the entrance of the gates. Asking him where he intends to go, Tigre responds that he is to off to defend his lands.
She finds this silly, in that he is just one man. Even with his skill, he’s hopefully out numbered. Challenging him at sword point, Elen asks Tigre to use his wits in trying to get her to change her mind. His response totally puts her off-balance, with him asking for her help in defending his land. Laughing for a good while, she says it isn’t for free. Asking for all of Alsace, he only asks that she be fair in government and make life safe for its residents. With that, she has her troops rally.
In a flashback scene, she and Lim discuss that they had both bet on him either challenging her on an archery contest, or for him to be one of her subordinates. With actually asking her to help defend her home, they both lost their bets. Although they both try to make him more presentable for battle, his unruly hair betrays them both. Asking him if he would compliment her on her looks, like saying ‘how pretty’, he responded by saying he thought so at the battle.
That shocks her out of her short flashback and as the army rides to Alsace, she notes they are outnumbered three to one. Tigre responds that he knows the terrain better while the troops of House Thenardier does not.
Speaking of which, the 3000 enemy troops makes their way slowly to Alsace’s capital, showing off their full strength. Back at Duke Thenardier discusses why he sent such a show to Alsace. The control of the kingdom rests either with him, or the Duke of Ganelon now that the Prince has died in battle and the king haven fallen into deep depression. While Alsace may be too far, Thenardier fears Ganelon will gobble it up. Even though the force is disproportionate to the threat, Duke Thenardier states it’s for his son to get used to the Dragons anyways.
Back in Alsace, the town is evacuating. Those who can run go to the woods, those who can’t run to the temple. Tigre’s maid, Titta, coordinates with the soldiers to evacuate the town. She refuses to leave and instead head back to the manor, looking over the Vorn ancestral weapon, remembering her time with Tigre and wishing for him to come.
She remembers when Tigre’s last day before heading to war, where he made his respects to the ancestral heirloom, and where he promised to come back home. The enemy troops breach the town’s defenses, and start to ransack the town. Unwilling to ransack the temple, and under strict orders to use the dragons in town due to their unfamiliarity of such large habitats, Zion Thenardier heads to the Vorn manor.
Back at the Manor, it seems that Titta and Tigre grew up together, and even their status as servant and master didn’t dilute the friendship they had. Meeting Titta, he cuts up her uniform and states that Tigre won’t be coming, and that he might be sold to slavery now since his ransom wasn’t paid. Chasing her around and amused that such a maid had grown feelings for her master, he seems intent on defiling her before selling her to slavers.
Before anything unbecoming happens (but we’re still treated to fanservice), an arrow is launched from the woods, hitting Zion in the middle of his palm, and as blood falls on his face, he finally cries out in pain. Tigre had returned, and tells her to jump. An enemy soldier trips up his horse and he still jumps to save her while Rurick (the man who had shaved his head), shoots the soldier. Elen creates a wind gust to save them both finally realizes Elen’s power.
The sword reacts to Tigre as if it likes him, while Titta explains she didn’t want to leave his home, even though she was scared. Elen states she’s a little jealous at Titta, and as Titta asks him who his new friends were, he notices an arrow flying at him. With amazing skill and strength, he stops the arrow aimed at him just by grasping it from mid-flight, turns it around, and shoots the enemy archer with his own arrow, impressing those around him.
Even though he was injured in the act, he is patched up, though his war bow was damaged in the process. Titta hands him the ancestral heirloom, and he remembers that his father tells him to use the bow only when he really needs it. Picking it up, Tigre’s servant and loyal general, Bertrand notices it, and calls out to Tigre’ deceased father, Urz, that his son has finally taken up the bow.
With a three to one disparity in forces, he wonders how the battle will turn out.
Second episode in and we get a better feel for the main characters. Elen seems to be very aloof, or rather, acting on a whim. But I highly doubt the kingdom of Zhcted merely hands over their lands to a woman with platinum blonde hair and platinum grade breasts. She has a good head on her shoulders, and no doubt her ability to command her sword puts lots of weight into her capability as a leader. Something along the lines of how the sword only goes for the one that is most capable.
Same goes for Tigre. Tigre is a refreshing character as I’ve stated on last week’s Three Episode Rule. Others may call him a traitor, first for surrendering, and next for asking a foreign power to help intervene in what is clearly a purge against his lands. In effect, he is, he’s also conceded his territory in exchange for the help, but as someone who would live under his rule, I would’ve been eternally grateful.
He asks that Elen provide fair governance for his people and that his people continue to live in safety, and no doubt with his surrender, she might just grant that by assigning him as the governor for the newly conquered territory.
Speaking of Tigre, it seems the ancestral heirloom has a little bit of magical power in it. Not as pronounced and open like Elen’s weapon, but being a weapon to be used in times most dire, meant it was a weapon with some great significance to the Vorn family.
Titta, past the fanservice, is pretty much loyal to her childhood friend. Something I thought great that even though she has known all her life to be his servant, the fact he doesn’t use that status to lord over her and regards her, if the flashbacks could be taken at their full weight, as a friend, meant that Tigre is that rare noble that does what is right. Noblesse oblige in essence. The loyalty he garnered from people who are older than he is, and even foreign enemies, is refreshing.
That or I’ve been rereading the Honor Harrington series again and compare him similarly to the actions of the Winton family and of Lady/Steadholder Harrington as well. People whose devotion to duty and their subordinates is set above their own personal ambition. No doubt that the remoteness of Alsace helps in that regard. Away from the power games of the capital and other lords, the family of Vorn has kept close to the people they govern and more or less keep things simple.
The next episode is the battle itself, unless they make it a short one and hammer home some more of this particularly interesting set of characters and setting. I look forward to it, and aim to continue past the TER for this series.
Opening and Ending Gallery: