King Fergus is an episodic character on Once Upon a Time. As a warrior king, he was well-aware that he wouldn't be around forever, and he was right. Fergus was cut down in battle as his daughter Merida watched; but in his final days he was able to teach her a lesson. Despite wanting to use magic to solve his problems, instead he showed Merida how a true ruler handles their problems, and she was forever inspired as she became the new matriarch of the DunBroch tribe.
After the Curse
King Fergus is cut down in battle. ("The Bear King")
King Fergus goes to the Witch to get an enchanted helm that will make men lead him into battle against the southern invaders. His daughter Merida wants to take part in the upcoming battle and he gifts her with his old bow for the occasion. He also hires a great warrior named Mulan to train his daughter how to fight properly; initially assuming that Mulan is a man, Merida tries attacking her, only to be floored. Mulan assures the princess that she'll teach her to fight better than any man there and will also teach her the most important thing she needs to have to fight: honor. Merida's skills with a sword grow exponentially under Mulan's tutelage, and she learns that a fight isn't about who's stronger, but who's smarter. What she wants to learn, however, is how to get the people to follow her into battle when she becomes Queen, but Mulan tells her that she's the wrong person to ask; instead, Merida should try asking someone the people are already following, and so she asks her father how he musters that kind of inspiration. Fergus tells his daughter that if a clan knows their King is willing to die for them, then they know the fight is important and will lay down their lives in equal measure. Merida feels ready for the battle against the southern invaders, and her talk with her father convinces him to throw the helm into a lake, not wanting to use it. Mulan is told by Fergus to keep Merida occupied so that she remains out of harm's way. Merida, upon realizing this, tries running to where the battle is taking place, despite Mulan trying to stop her, and the two of them witness a knight sneaking up behind King Fergus. Merida fires an arrow, hoping to kill the knight, but only manages to hit his cloak, allowing the knight to stab Fergus through the chest. ("The Bear King")
Merida is able to say goodbye to her father. ("The Bear King")
After Merida defeats King Arthur and Zelena, stopping them from retrieving the enchanted helm, she takes the helm back to her castle where she is finally crowned queen. The Witch arrives to collect the helm, but Merida refuses to give it, for she believes nobody should have the power to force other's into fighting a battle they don't believe in. This decision pleases the Witch, and she reveals to Merida that she passed her secret test to see if she was a worthy leader. She gifts her with magic ale so that she can contact the one person who couldn't be at the coronation; King Fergus. Merida takes the ale to her father's grave and sprinkles it, summoning his spirit from the Underworld. Merida apologizes for losing faith in her father, but he reveals he lost faith in himself. He tells her that she made him realize he if wanted to show her how to be a true leader, he couldn't use magic to do it. The father and daughter are finally able to say goodbye to each other. ("The Bear King")
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.