|Game||Koudelka and Shadow Hearts (mentioned)|
|Romaji||Jēmusu O Furahatī|
|Voice actor(s)||Rokurō Naya|
|Voice actor(s)||Scott Larson|
Tritagonist and playable character in Koudelka.
Brought into the world when famine and a tumultuous struggle for independence was shaking Ireland. After studying at an English university, he entered the Vatican and embarked upon a long career as a Bishop. In addition to an inherent sincerity, he holds onto the values of a vanished age, while taking pride in his severe stubbornness. Through a directive from the Vatican, he finds himself knocking on Nemeton Abbey's doors.
Born in Ireland, 1845 , his early childhood was during the height of the Great Famine - a period of social and political upheaval. His family were small, but moderately successful merchants, and thus were able to afford for him to attend school - in which he both loved and excelled at.
In his early adulthood, with assistance and support from his parents to help him cross the Irish Sea, , he moved to England, and was accepted into a prestigious English university, where he studied chemistry. There he met Patrick Heyworth, who was also studying chemistry. The pair became firm friends, but their friendship soon disintegrated, however, when they both fell in love with the same woman - Elaine Spencer.
Despite his deep love for her, he felt his low social status, and lack of wealth would leave him unable to care for Elaine in a befitting manner. Heartsore, he stepped aside, leaving the way clear for Patrick.
To soothe his broken heart, and distance himself from his emotions, he turned his back on the secular world and joined the Catholic church. He rose quickly through the ecclesial ranks, eventually becoming a bishop - and being tasked with various matters of importance to the church.
In 1890, three forbidden tomes were stolen from the Papal Library; the Pulse Tract, the R'lyeh Text , and the Émigré Manuscript. Each contained powerful and forbidden knowledge, with the potential to warp the very fabric of existence itself. They had long been stored in the Pontiff's personal library, under lock-and-key, their existence kept deliberately hidden from the world at large to prevent potential misuse.
Fearful at what could be unleashed onto the world, the Vatican tasked James, and a fellow priest, Father Morris Elliot - an exorcist - to find and return them. At first the pair searched Europe together, but after a few years, Elliot's daughter, Alice was born, leading the two to travel and search separately. Due to the distance, they kept correspondence through letters.
Their investigation led James eventually to the discovery that his old friend, Patrick Heyworth had the Émigré Manuscript in his possession, and suspected he'd been using it to research the occult. He believed that Patrick had bribed a Vatican official to steal the document specifically - though in actuality, it had been stolen by Cardinal Albert Simon for his own ends, and then sold to a desperate Patrick.
He detailed his findings in a last letter to Father Elliot, and set off to confront Patrick, seeking to convince him to abandon his dangerous research, and return the text to the Vatican. His goal in mind, he began his long trek to Patrick's residence - Nemeton monastery, Wales.
Entering the monastery through the main gate, he was welcomed with open arms by the caretakers. Presenting themselves as a mild-mannered wholesome couple, he was ignorant of their darker, murderous nature.
Apparently concerned with Patrick's welfare, they made no immediate attempt to poison or shoot James, as they had done with countless others, and instead told him where Patrick's quarters were located, and left him to explore the monastery.
He was found and rescued by Koudelka Iasant, and Edward Plunkett - two fellow travellers who had come to the monastery for their own reasons. He was sniffy and dismissive of the pair, believing them to be mere thieves based on their appearance, and expressed flat disbelief when they informed him of the caretakers' attempt to poison them. He kept quiet of his true reasons for coming to the monastery, not trusting them.
Despite their open mutual dislike, he opted to travel with them, for safety.
As the trio made their way around the dark, monster-filled corridors, James and Edward began to argue over poetry, before being shot at by the caretakers - to James' flat refusal of the belief that they were the shooters.
They eventually found themselves in the former hidden Prison of the monastery - filled to the brim with bodies - some hundreds of years old, some very recent. And haunted by the vengeful spirits there, including the ghost of Charlotte D'Lota. To find out what happened in the monastery's history, Koudelka channelled some of the lingering spirits, much to James' disgust.
Even when presented with the overwhelming evidence of the caretakers' grisly deeds, he was reluctant to believe they were capable of such a thing - but was dismissive of the victims, claiming he wasn't interested in the deaths of "mere liars, thieves, and heathens", to Koudelka and Edward's anger.
Having made their way to the Storage Room, they discovered a vast haul of confiscated artworks, jewels and other objets d'art. Again, the group argued; James wished to see them brought to the Vatican for their historical worth, while Edward, facetiously, was more interested in material worth.
They were attacked by a thief, Alias, who had thus far managed to evade the caretakers, and been witness to their numerous bloody murders. James, however tried to pin the deaths on him, accusing him of commiting them - snidely disparaging his status as a low-class immigrant. Again, to Koudelka and Edward's disgust at James.
However, he was shocked when, after Alias had finished speaking, Edward coldly pulled a gun on him, and shot him - James intending, originally to hand the thief over to the police - only for Edward to mockingly point out the danger in leaving him alive to potentially attack again.
Finding themselves in the abbey Library, James began to frantically search through the alchemic and mystic texts for the Émigré Document, much to Koudelka and Edward's puzzlement, being deliberately vague to them on the nature of his search. Edward mockingly quoted Shakespeare to him, giving to James the tiniest glimmer of respect for Edward's knowledge of the Bard.
Hidden away in a secret room in the library, the three discovered a lone coffin on a bier. They approched it to discover the emaciated form of Roger Bacon - who promptly sprang to live, startling them, enigmatically speaking of the Formors and the Émigré Document, before abruptly collapsing back into the coffin.
Needing to know more, James tried to question the strange man, being met with no response. Tired of his evasiveness, Edward demanded an explanation on the Émigré Document, and James' true purpose for coming to the monastery. Hesitant, he finally told them the whole story; the nature of the Émigré Document and his knowledge of its owner, Patrick.
Somewhat satisfied with the answers, the trio continued the exploration of the grounds, ending up in the Church Nave. As the church bells tolled midnight, the malignant energies of the spirits in the area coalesced into a hideous demonic creature, and attacked them - seperating James and Edward from Koudelka, blocking off thier access to the nave.
Concerned for her wellbeing, the duo sought a way to find her, eventually managing to contact her through a damaged impassable door under the arbour, relieved, telling her to regroup with them in the library.
Meeting in the library, Koudelka told them that the caretakers were finally dead, but before doing so had told her of the death of Patrick's wife, Elaine, many years before, to James' shocked horror and disbelief. He explained to them his past, and his deep love for her, his numb shock over her murder.
Inside Patrick's Quarters, they found Roger in Patrick's personal library, Edward and James scarce believing that he was indeed, the 13th century philosopher, until he began to discuss his involvement in the copying of the Emigré Document. Amused by the strange man, they left him to his devices, and ventured deeper into Patrick's Quarters.
Before a full-size portrait of Elaine, Koudelka channeled her spirit, to James' reverent awe, as her ghost materialised before them. They spoke, James barely able to contain his sorrow as she told him of her murder, and Patrick's attempt to resurrect her body, and how it had become an unthinking monster, while her spirit was stuck stranded on Earth, unable to move on. As she faded away, she begged him to burn her body to ash, to free her spirit, as James howled in despair - feeling everything he'd sacrificed in life for Elaine's happiness had been in vain.
Having located Patrick's Research Notes, and wishing to free Elaine's spirit, they spoke again to Roger, to see if was possible (and in what manner) to return Elaine's body to death. Roger speculated that calling upon sacred powers to destroy the roots of the Tree of Life in which her body was housed, and then calling up the energies of either fire or water could potentially destroy it. Luckily such a relic was on the monastery grounds; the mummified arm of St Daniel, founder of the monastery.
Trying to make their way to the church, where Elaine's body lay, they were stopped by a seemingly-impassable door. James tried to convince Koudelka and Edward to leave him; it was his friend, and his fight, not theirs - though they quickly rebuffed him, as it was now far more than a personal matter. Still unable to open the door, James had an idea from seeing the chemicals in Patrick's lab; nitroglycerin.
He set about the task, creating a flask potent enough to completely destroy the door. Finishing it, and placing it at the base of the door, they stood far back while Edward took aim with a pistol, and fired, exploding the unstable mixture, and the door with it.
With access, at last, to the Church, they discovered it had become overgrown with vines, and that the cauldron lay hidden in a secret crypt. There they found Patrick's mummified corpse, covered in the vines, to James' quiet horror.
Resolved to the Tree of Life's destruction, James grabbed some nearby paraffin canisters, and started to douse the vines and area with it. Prepared, they cast St Daniel's arm into the cauldron invoking his saintly power. The vines reacted violently; thrashing and writhing tearing apart the masonry, causing the trio to flee outside, but not before James threw down his lantern, igniting the gasoline, and turning the place into a blazing inferno.
They fought their way to the base of the bell tower, where the main stem of the Tree of Life - and Elaine housed within, waited.
A giant bud lay at the plant's apex, and as they drew closer, unfurled revealing the monstrous resurrected body of Elaine - mindless and animalistic. She attacked, forcing them to retreat further up the bell tower, to the very spire. Her body mutated, and left with nowhere to run - they battled her.
Bloodied and beaten by Elaine, the trio lay sprawled across the rooftop. Rising to his feet, and holding his cross out before him, James questioned his faith, before resigning himself to his fate, admitting his love to Elaine. Calling upon some divine force, a beam of light shot from the heavens, enveloping them, causing them to ascend upwards, as the ugliness of Elaine's form was stripped away revealing her true body - reunited again with her soul. Elaine spoke kindly to him of their shared memories, and told him they were returning home.
The pair faded in a flash of light, with the implication that they had passed on to the hereafter.
Three endings are possible in Koudelka, the canonical (as detailed above) is the ending in which the party lose to Elaine in the boss fight, and James "dies". Because of this, it's sometimes known as the "Bad Ending" . The events of this form the backstory of Shadow Hearts.
The other ending, achieved by winning in the fight against Elaine changes alters these events; her spirit reunites with her body, and she appeared to be begining to speak, before she plunged into the inferno of the church below, dying, finally.
Sitting in the dawning sun, the trio quietly contemplated what they had seen, reflecting that the last true bond with the departed, was memories. In this ending, James lives, leading to it often being called the "Good Ending".
The last is a non-standard game over if the player doesn't find, or discards Koudelka's Pendant. When she awakens from her bud, Elaine blasts the party with a necrotising breath - melting the very flesh from their bones.
While never appearing himself, due to his death, James is heavily referenced in the backstory of the game, and a headstone, placed alongside the ruins of the monastery bear an inscription dedicated to him;
|“||"Father James O'Flaherty - Rest in peace with your loved ones."||„|
Haughty, quarrelsome, and arrogant, his unbending worldview was the cause of many of the bitter arguments he had between Koudelka and Edward.
Towards Koudelka, he was appalled by her numerous blasphemies, and viewed her powers as paganism. His main source of antagonism towards Edward came from their differences in poetry; James preferred the works of Alexander Pope, and George Herbert, while Edward was into the more contemporary, Byron. However, he had a grudging respect for Edward in their shared appreciation of Shakespeare.
An intellectual, he was incredibly well read in occultism and other esoterica - even though he was dismissive of the material aspects, and occupied by the theosophical arguements. Thanks to his scientific background, he was also a skilled chemist. However, while knowledgable and erudite , he was quick to judge others by first appearances, and reluctant to change that view despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
He was disdainful of any whom he considered to be of a lower status, quick to disregard them as thieves, liers or pagans. Also a xenophobe, his was mistrustful of "immigrants", ironically, and hypocritically, considering that he, himself had emigrated from Ireland.
However, despite his aloof and callous nature, he was riven by heartache, and truly loved Elaine.
|“||Extensive studies in all fields of knowledge||„|
|~ Game Manual|
|Koudelka Iasant - Edward Plunkett - Father James O' Flaherty|
|Patrick Heyworth - Elaine Heyworth - Ogden - Bessy - Charlotte - Roger Bacon - Alias - The Creature|
|Nemeton Monastery Grounds|
|Stables - Caretaker's Quarters - Herb Garden - Prison - Dungeon - Priest's Quarters - Underground Shrine - Storage Room - Archives - Library Church Nave - Patrick's Quarters - Underground Passage - Altar of Darkness - Nemeton Graveyard - Charlotte's Cell - Vestry - Church|
Holy Water Font - Inner Grounds - Portrait Room - Chapel - Bell Tower Spire
|Émigré Manuscript - Saint Daniel - The Formors - Guard's Diary - Old Letter - Sophia's Letters - Patrick's Memo - Research Notes|
|Requiem - Ubi Caritas Et Amor - Koudelka OST - The Music of Koudelka|
|Valuables - Items - Magic - Bosses - Enemies - Weapons - Accessories - Armour|