What is the Church of Irkalia?
A cult that worships the Psychopomps and are aware of the dying world. They are known for having “suicide rituals” in hopes of summoning a Psychopomp into their presence, and even have a long history of sacrificial rites that lead into murder. Some of the Wolfgang family have had a history with the Church of Irkalia, especially after the church started noticing a trend of a member of the family becoming “spirited away” every fifty years. As time passed, the Wolfgang family has some issues with the church, trying to sever their connections.
The cult was founded in France during the Crusades by a “prophet” named Madelgarde, a serf who had befriended a noblewoman. The noblewoman, Alodie Blanc, helped found the church after finding Madelgarde’s prophecies to be true. She became known as Madelgarde of Salomon, which is a title of the highest rank in the church.
Before the church, Madelgarde met a Psychopomp named Roux, and wanted to become like the Psychopomps. Madelgarde was actually a gifted human with a sixth sense, possessing the ability to see Psychopomps and had actually befriended Roux. After finding out that only the Memitim choose who gets to become a Psychopomp, Madelgarde became deeply upset over the reality that she would die and Roux would have to eventually pass her over to the next life himself. She had collected a following, including Alodie Blanc, who witnessed her abilities herself and helped to influence their secret church. With the aid of her husband, Jehan Blanc, they were able to find a places to practice and learn more about the Zones thanks to Madelgarde’s guidance and prophecies.
Due to the time period and the conflicts that revolved around the Crusades, the church was forced to practice their beliefs in total secrecy.
Fevered with a deathly sickness, Madelgarde managed to kill a Psychopomp named Sartre, who had come to her when she attempted suicide. Roux appeared. Since the two had become close, Roux did not want Sartre to take Madelgarde , and killed Sartre with his bone scythe. This was considered a heinous crime by the Memitim, but they allowed Roux to pass his Psychopomp status to Madelgarde. Since then, Madelgarde was allowed to live on as a Psychopomp, never to see Roux who was trapped in Limbo, while she was never allowed to go to Limbo to see her friend. Furthermore, the Memitim has warped Madelgarde’s mind, to forget Roux at her own request so she would not seek to try and release him from Limbo, and continue her role as a Psychopomp. She is no longer Madelgarde. Now, she is Maia.
Since the Psychopomp now known as Maia had garnered a following prior to her suicide attempt, Alodie Blanc was able to continue Madelgarde’s work using the information they had learned.
The Memitim had also manipulated Madelgarde’s memories, forcing her to forget her human life and devote herself entirely to the Psychopomps. As a gifted human herself, Alodie Blanc had recognized Maia as Madelgarde and continued to preach her story to other disciples. Over time, they were able to establish a religion known as the “Church of Irkalia”, a cult with the knowledge of the Psychopomps and who are entirely devoted to them.
There are now several Church of Irkalia establishments throughout the world, all of them revering Madelgarde as a “prophet” who had transcended her human vessel and had become a Psychopomp herself. They believe that by following a list of rules, they can be rewarded by the Memitim and become Psychopomps as well. However, the Memitim generally disapprove of this cult of humans, and many of them are not even Psychopomp candidates. More often than not they are desperate people trying to be special.
The Church of Irkalia adopts the belief that by following a strict guideline and dedicating their lives to the Psychopomps, they can become gifted humans as well. They have even developed a dangerous program that can either open up an ability or kill them. Over several decades, they have actually made progress, but these “gifted humans” are not by any means candidates to become Psychopomps.
Due to the church’s controversial views regarding suicide and sacrifice, practicing Irkalia has been banned throughout most of the world. However, over time they have been allowed to fade into obscurity, allowing them to practice without the government scrutiny. With the end of the world, they are even able to continue their “work” more freely than they ever had before.
During Days be Done, the church is being run by a woman named Ibbie Mullins. She is a gifted human who can see Psychopomps, and can interact and even harm them if she so wanted to. She is known as Ibbie of Salomon.
As the world dies, so does the influence the Memitim had on Maia, as she starts to recall Madelgarde and the Psychopomp she fell in love with. This event results in her becoming the primary antagonist that emerges after Ravine’s conflict with Grayson, as she discovers that Grayson wasn’t the last Psychopomp to close up the world when it ends.
Additionally, the church was able to survive the Collapse (the plague that killed the world and set everything back to 0) inside a vault.
For nearly two millennia, records of the Wolfgang Psychopomps have been reported by members of the church. Their lineage date back to the Tenth Century, where they may have been related to Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg. With a woman being spirited away as a Psychopomp every fifty years, there have been an estimate of nearly forty Wolfgang Psychopomps in existence. Where they have gone now is unknown. Some may passed on to Limbo, killed, or became Shedim.
Hunter Wolfgang, a human-to-shade-to-Revenant (the latter is thanks to Ravine), now devotes his life to tracking down the remains of the Church of Irkalia, as well as avoiding them. To some sects of the church, he is revered in an almost saint-like status, being the one Wolfgang immortal with knowledge of the family’s history. Other sects regard him as an abomination, and seek to destroy him. However, he is protected by the Psychopomp Ravine. In the end, he accompanies her to other worlds, promising as a lifelong friend never to leave her alone.