A major figure in the history of Faerie and the Mephitist Empire, referred to quite often in both The Winterbough Saga and The Ballad of Adler Young.

Irenaeus was a skunk, the son of Waftvapr, a chieftain of the Balemist Tribe living in the area of Albric Tor. The chief and his wife Obnoxia had to flee Albric Tor, and gave birth to the future conqueror of Faerie in the area of a village known as Athstead. (Irenaeus' birthplace became somewhat obscured with the passage of years, owing to a change in the flow of the local river; the quest for his true birthplace by Adler Gawainsson is a major story-line within The Ballad of Adler Young.)


Temple door relief showing Irenaeus holding the head of a vanquished enemy.

Irenaeus, upon reaching adulthood, quickly consolidated his power over Albric Tor, and then proceeded to conquer whole swathes of Faerie in lightning campaigns. He received something of a mild check in his attempt to conquer the Vale of Elfhame, in the far north of Faerie, where the roebuck archers stoutly resisted repeated charges. While Irenaeus overcame this resistance, and even penetrated to the Wild Snows area in the vicinity of Frostheim, Irenaeus never conquered the latter realm. He did, however, take as a bride a proud lady skunk from Frostheim, Aelfhilde.

More strangely, it appears that at some point during this Northern Campaign, King Irenaeus lost his tailfur. Accounts vary as to precisely what happened, but the lack of a tail would have proven to be a great loss of prestige for the warrior-king. In the Long Ago a king was regarded as the living embodiment of the realm; an ill or mutilated individual would be unfit for rule. At some point, Irenaeus used magicks to give his severed tail sentience, so that it could cling to him; thus was created Scuti Prime, the progenitor of all scuti. He is said to have consumed, in the hall of the Frost Lord, the egg of an ice-wyrm to replenish his inner fire and magickal essence. At some point, Irenaeus parted ways with Scuti Prime, and began to go about openly without a tail.

King Irenaeus was renowned for a violent, volcanic temper, and there are many stories of elaborate and gruesome punishments he inflicted on those who displeased him. His popular nickname in most Imperial history books is "Irenaeus the Bloodthirsty" though many elves refer to him irreverently as "Lacktail."