This is my first attempt at a "missing scene" fic. It's for the "Visionaries" episode "Feryl Steps Out" and it focusses on Feryl's feelings after the battle with the pirates and explores what may have prompted him to take the drastic step he took in the episode.
Leoric and I didn't say a word to each other as we headed back to New Valarak. Usually, we would have been laughing and joking about how easily we had routed the pirates we had trailed to a village, but, for all the use I had been in that battle, I might as well have just sat back and let those pirates rush me. Which they had anyway . . .
I could still hear their crude voices taunting me as they crowded round and started pummelling at me - and I did nothing to fight back. Why hadn't I done something - such as assuming my Wolf form - to get away from them? That question kept echoing in my mind as, keeping my eyes fixed firmly on the road ahead, I drove the Capture Chariot towards New Valarak.
In fact, it was my own fault they'd rushed me in the first place. Leoric had already leapt out of the Capture Chariot to deal with their captain; I'd immediately decided to take on the crew myself and was driving the Capture Chariot straight at a group of them gathered around a well. Unfortunately, seconds before I reached them, they all dodged to one side and, unable to stop or reverse in time, I had ended up ramming the well. The Capture Chariot jammed, but I had no time to sort the problem out before they started on me . . .
It was after Leoric had single-handedly saved the village and all the locals were congratulating him and ignoring me, that the first doubts began to form in my mind. Why hadn't I paused to think before rushing headlong into those pirates? What had possessed me, a Spectral Knight, to do something so reckless that it had earned me a beating and would almost certainly have led to my capture had Leoric not been with me? "Well, Leoric's a hero - I'm just a dolt," were the words I'd said out loud as I sat there, removed from the accolades the villagers were heaping upon him.
Anyway, the second Leoric and I were back in New Valarak and I had parked the Capture Chariot, I bolted straight for my private quarters, determined not to let my feelings show in front of anyone. I'm fairly sure I heard Leoric calling after me, but I was too wrapped up in my personal anguish to take any notice. My vision had begun to blur before I was halfway up the stairs and I had to fight to hold my emotions in check until I could be sure no-one would come across me in this state.
But, as soon as I was in my quarters, I collapsed onto my bed and let all my emotions, all the pent-up feelings of inadequacy that I'd been nurturing since the encounter with the pirates, have free rein . . .
A dolt, a fool, a useless liability - you name it, as far as I was concerned I was it. And, if I had messed up on this occasion, what would happen if I did so against the Darkling Lords? What would happen if I botched things up so much that our enemies defeated us and gained control over the Circle of Light? Could I live with myself if that happened?
"No!" I reminded myself fiercely. "That will never happen - Leoric won't allow it!" But, on the other hand, it was becoming increasingly clear to me that I was the weak element out of the Spectral Knights, the one most likely to ruin it for the rest . . .
I sat up with a start when I heard Galadria's voice and, struggling to quell the emotional turmoil inside me, I turned to see her standing in the doorway with Arzon close behind her. I had been so absorbed in my feelings that I had forgotten to shut the door. I nodded mutely, not trusting myself to speak, but it was enough for both of them and they came in.
"Sorry, Feryl, but we heard you crying," Galadria said as I turned my face away from my two friends to avoid giving any indication that her statement was true. "Look, maybe you'd better talk about it - you'll only feel worse if you don't . . ."
I sighed and tried to control my emotions - how could she understand what I was feeling? How could she know what it was like to feel that you serve no useful purpose, that you are the one holding the rest back? "You wouldn't understand . . ." I said listlessly, staring down at my hands as I spoke.
"Feryl, what are you on about?" she asked incredulously as, before I could object, she sat down beside me, resting her hand on my shoulder. I lifted my head in response to her touch, my mind still filled with the thoughts that had been recycling themselves endlessly since the pirates attacked me. And it always came down to the same thing - I had let the Spectral Knights down. I was no good to any of us. It was then that I knew what I had to do, leave New Valarak and put as much distance as possible between myself and my friends.
I stood up, brushed at my eyes with my hand and steeled myself to say what I needed to say. It wasn't that I wanted to leave the Spectral Knights, but it was something I just had to do before I did something to threaten the safety of all seven of us. I had no idea where I would go or what I would do, only a vague notion of getting well away from my fellows . . .
"Galadria, Arzon . . ." I told my two friends, pausing for several awkward seconds as I considered how best to phrase my intentions. In the end, I decided it would be better to get this over as quickly as possible - no sense in dragging it out any longer than I had to. "I - I'm . . . well, I'm leaving."
"Leaving?" echoed Arzon as our eyes locked for a moment. "What are you talking about, Feryl?"
"What I said," I told him, keeping my voice as level as possible and hoping my emotions wouldn't get the better of me. "I just feel like I'm not contributing anything worthwhile to the Spectral Knights. No, worse than that - I'm beginning to think you'd all be better off without me . . ."
"Feryl, you know that's . . ." Galadria started to say. She was probably going to say "not true", but I cut her short; this was hard enough as it was without having to argue with anyone and besides I was feeling too emotionally exhausted to argue right now.
"I know you mean well," I told her as I left the room and began to make my way downstairs. "But this is something I have to do. I - I messed up in battle earlier - some pirates rushed me while I was trying to fight them. It's only thanks to Leoric that I wasn't captured . . . And, if I can't handle a few pirates, what hope do I have against the Darkling Lords?"
"Feryl, wait!" Arzon called as he and Galadria caught up with me. "Look, have you really thought about this?" he asked as the two of them stood on either side of me. I didn't look at either of them as I replied, my voice carrying the tone of one who knows they have been defeated and the best option is to attempt a dignified retreat.
"I have - and it's become clear to me that I'm only holding the rest of you back," I said simply. "It - it seems I have nothing useful, no special talents, to offer . . ."
"What do you mean?" asked Galadria. "What about those "amazing tracking skills" Merklynn said you have?"
I knew exactly what she meant - for some reason I had never found out, my senses had always been far sharper than usual. But what use was that if I couldn't defend myself when it mattered? No, it was for the best that I left New Valarak. It pained me to have to leave my friends and allies, but I was sure I was doing the right thing for all the Spectral Knights. I would only end up causing trouble for the rest if I stayed . . .
To find out what happened next, see the episode "Feryl Steps Out"