Aetha is a mountainous realm aligned with chaos, and is home to the Wraith.
Set in hazardous, cloud-draped peaks is the far-from-heavenly Aetha. The sheer mountains and treacherous rocks mean the inhabitants have to make their precarious homes on the plateaus above the clouds. The gloom and drizzle hides Tudor-like architecture with foreboding towers, heavy black beams and crumbling white walls. Overhanging balconies seek to steal what little light the street lanterns cast.
The occupants of Aetha are the Wraith race. These fearsome and cadaverous beings have created a warped aristocratic society, with the ruling class living a life of opulence and excess while the "Helot" peasants live in filth and squalor. Unsurprisingly, the ruling class are selfish and evil, throwing lavish masked balls within sight of the starving masses. The Wraith are shown to have vampiric characteristics; although not needing blood to live, their ability to digest Helot blood gives them invincible qualities.
Jen's third demon form is based on the Wraith race.
Locations in Aetha
- Lower Village: Where Jen and Scree begin their adventure through Aetha. This is where the Riftgate to the Nexus is.
- Upper Village: Where many of the Helot reside; however, they have been driven from their village by the growing wrath of the aristocracy.
- Main Square: According to Scree, the Main Square is normally bustling with Helot market stalls, however, it is deserted since the ruling class began taking sacrifices.
- Manor House: One of the more luxurious buildings the Helot own. It is here the population of the Lower and Upper villages have fled. A cellar lies beneath the building and a trap door conceals the population.
Cemetery: Where the Helot bury their dead, The Duke's ghost (known as a Phantom, possibly what happens to a Wraith upon death if their remains aren't buried with the proper rites as opposed to an actual ghost) haunts the graveyard as of late.
Farm: Although not really explored, the Helot have a farm. A barn of troughs lies near a Riftgate and a few fields lie around the cliffs suggesting the Helot used to grow some form of crop and house some form of animal once.
- Dungeon Docks & Flooded Dungeons: An out of place dock appears to be one entrance (and the entrance Scree & Jen take) to enter the Mansion. This area is severely flooded, and is perhaps a natural lake that the Wraith use to bring water up to the Mansion, or the result of faulty plumbing. Either way, it's an obscure feature to have sitting underneath a castle atop of a cliff.
- Cage Chamber
- Torture Room: It appears many forms of torture occur down in these lower levels. It is where Jen and Scree meet the talking wraith heads.
- Upper Cells: It is here an unexpected Ally emerges from the darkness: a Helot warrior.
Count Raum's Mansion
Count Raum's mansion also known as The Chateau (a French reference to add to the French Revolution motif) is the stronghold of the Wraith aristocracy in Aetha. It's an elaborate and beautiful location which strikes a certain irony when one remembers those who live within its walls. It is divided into the East Wing, West Wing, and Count Raum's Tower.
- Upon arriving in the mansion from the Dungeons, visitors are met with a daunting room featuring statues of lantern carriers which resemble The Hermit in Tarot Cards and also bear a striking similarity to lantern-carriers in Led Zeppelin's album Led Zeppelin IV.
- The Chapel: Raum's beautiful chapel lies in the West Wing, although it is uncertain as to whom the Wraith worship (as the Djinn are god-like and the Undine are known to worship gods called Leviathans) but, knowing Raum's vanity, it's most probably himself. A large mirror within the Chapel supports this. On the southeast wall, there are twin mirror statues of Wraith about to strike a woman in evening dress from behind.
- Arboretum: Contains a Riftgate and benches, a relaxing area, located near where Jen is captured by Raum upon entering the mansion.
- Library: Raum also has an extensive book collection, located in a library in the West Wing. Partway up each of the four columns in the library are green flames giving the room an eerie glow.
Within the Library are also some impressive paintings of the Wraith Aristocracy. One depicts Empusa and Raum together - Empusa looks notably pregnant, most probably with Elizabeth. The second painting appears also in Raum & Empusa's bedroom and depicts a rather strong battleworthy Raum atop some rocks striking an aggressive pose. More Wraith artwork includes a Wraith bust wearing a Darth Vader-like cowl, minus the breathing mask. A door to the Northeast leads to the Chapel and to the South West is a door to Elizabeth's Chambers and a hidden passage leads to the Mansion's Armory.
Armory Elizabeth's Chambers: Elizabeth's Chambers are three floors exclusively given to Princess Elizabeth. Her attic is where she sleeps, and also where Scree asks her for a dance. Her actual chambers are the middle floor which is a double room with two chaises longues, a fireplace, a bureau with huge mirror, and floor to ceiling windows. Stairs up to Elizabeth's Attic and down to the ground floor. Northeast door leads into the Library and the Northeast door into the hallway leads to the Arboretum where Jen was first captured by Count Raum.
Central Portion of Mansion
- Ballroom: The beautiful Ballroom shows off what Wraith architecture is made of. It is beautifully crafted out of marble and used for many Wraith social gatherings at Raum's Mansion, including one when Jen and Scree visit Aetha. It is here that the troublesome Elizabeth is introduced, and also where Jen attempts to pickpocket Raum's keys whilst under a masquerade. The Ballroom's final appearance is the climactic final encounter with Raum and Empusa.
- Courtyard: Location of the Blood Fountain.
- Raum's Tower & Laboratory: It is here that Jen is first taken when kidnapped by Raum. She is held in a constrictive cage device upon what appears to normally be Raum's throne. Her vambraces were taken by Raum and held in one of his Dark Scientific machines.
The East Wing of the Mansion is initially reached from the balcony around the Main Courtyard. That has a door to the SouthEast that opens onto the balcony above the Banquet Hall.
- Banquet Hall: A gigantic table with humungous chairs to sit many a guest.
- Raum & Empusa's Bedroom: Situated in the west corner of the East Wing is the bedroom of the Count and Countess. The ground floor consists of a parlor. Note the mirror on the landing for the Count and Countess to check their appearance before greeting the unwashed masses. There is a harpsichord in this part of the Wing. Exit to the Northeast is a small room that leads to the Banquet Hall. The small room has a single long flight of stairs down to the southeast. There is a locked door at the end. By the sound of rain, it opens somewhere in the Dark Maze.
- Orrery Room: Within the East Wing is an orrery room. It comprises of 4 planets or worlds with a sun at the center. Perhaps this is an illustration of the solar system according to Aetha's realm, or more likely a representation of all 4 realms - all of which belong to one sun. If so, it shows Raum acknowledges yet another science - astronomy.
- Dark Maze: Where Elizabeth flees to hide from her quarrelling and abusive parents. If one manages to successfully conquer the maze and its many alterating patterns, they may gain access to Raum's Blood Machine.
- Blood Machine: Hidden underneath the Mansion and accessed only by navigating a complicated maze is the device that gives Raum and Empusa their immortality - the Blood Machine. Upon entering the dungeon, an eerie statue of an elderly Wraith with long hair greets the visitor. The Blood Machine itself is a complicated (even for Scree) machine that drains the blood of the Helot and transforms it into an elixir for the Wraith. It may also be used on other creatures, including hybrids, to procure a poison effective against the Wraith.
Aetha, like many other realms, appears to be a lot larger than is first assumed. Although Jen and Scree only investigate the Village, Dungeon and Mansion of Raum's control, there are hints of other provinces within Aetha. When Jen dances with Raum, he asks if she is "Natalia of the Eastern Province", suggesting that there are other provinces - after all, within the ball itself, there are many other noble Wraith present.
When in the village, if one looks out across the mist to the mountains, fortresses and castles can be made out on some of the peaks, which suggest that there are similar Mansions like Raum's elsewhere.
Creatures Found in Aetha
- Wraith (Includes Valkyrie).
- Yaarg: The equivalent to Solum's Malkai, these creatures are the "guard-dogs" of the wraith aristocracy and have taken over The Village since Raum & Empusa have upped their evil powers. They are extremely deadly and their strange body shape makes it hard to attack the creatures. Their appearance holds some similarities to Vogons from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Helot: Horned peasants who live miserable, busy and unrewarding lives under the rule of the Wraith. They possess little strength and appear to have no special abilities. It is never determined if the Helot are a sub-species of the Wraith or an entirely different one altogether; that said, they are not shown to perform any of the powers the aristocracy have, and facially look different. They do not have the Wraith webbed hair or dark gloomy eye sockets, but instead have noticeable horns protruding from the back of the skull extremely similar to those of a Pachycephalosaurus.
- Phantom: Possibly a result of a Wraith death and the Wraith equivalent of a ghost, or something that Count Raum's dark science has created. It takes the form of a minature whirlwind. The Duke was a notable Phantom after his death.
- Rats: It's clear rats are a problem in Aetha. Many scamper across the floor in the dungeons and Princess Elizabeth has a dead pet rat called Claude.
- Unnamed Travel-Worthy Toad: Exceptionally hard to discover, in the Manor House there is a sepia photograph of a Helot riding upon a very large toad-like creature. Another figure appears to be holding the reigns of the toad upon the floor. A domesticated pet appears next to him, possibly a terrier dog.
Characters in Aetha
- Count Raum
- Countess Empusa
- Lady Elizabeth
- The Watcher - aka "Old Pug Face."
- The Prisoner - an unexpected ally in the dungeons
- Phantom Duke
- Captain Valeera
- The date on the majority of the gravestones is: "1220-1242." It is unknown what this date signifies, however a Croatian Archbishop Guncellus held religious power in this era.
- Many of the doors of the Helot houses are daubed with white which shows a cross with wings and a circle atop of it. Such a marking could be similar to a passage in the Bible: Exodus 12-23. It claims to make a marking upon one's door to make sure the Lord God knows not to strike down the door and destroy whoever may be inside. The Wraith could be likened to gods with their immortality and the marking could be a sign that they've already been calling at that house for victims.
- Scree never gives Elizabeth the dance he promised he would upon Jen defeating her parents. Technically she is now in charge of Aetha (or at least the province visited in PRIMAL).
- If one looks closely at the gravestone Jen smashes, it says "RIP Laura Cruft 2003". This may be a reference to Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. Notably, the Tomb Raider title released around the same time as PRIMAL was an enormous flop.
- Official Aetha walkthrough (archived version).