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Atharu is a minor character in Amnesia: Rebirth. She was an alchemist of the Otherworld.

Summary[]

Atharu was one of many alchemists in the employ of the Empire in the other world, occupying a role which seems to include aspects of being a scientist, a scribe, a priest, and a physician. She was in service at least as far back as the end of the reign of Tihana's predecessor, her mother Atua.[2]

Medical practice[]

Saving Tihana[]

Atharu was involved in Empress Atua's desperate struggle to keep her daughter alive, alongside other alchemists who "fought to keep the life in her."[2] This medical struggle, though only fragmentarily described, included surgical procedures on Tihana, namely "spinal repair," and, eventually, the injection of vitae's somatically restorative properties to allow her to live in spite of her condition and to succeed her mother to the throne.[3][2]

Atharu tested samples from Tihana and her dead mother, and thereby established that both had the same disease, though noting it "did not manifest in the forebears," possibly meaning that the disease was not present in the bloodline up till Atua or that it was present but asymptomatically in the royal ancestors.[4] Such an illness could have been genetic and skipped a generation, or some other illness passed through the womb.[4]

Further investigations[]

At some point, Atharu, Temaku, and the other alchemists stabilized Tihana's disease through the use of vitae, though further medical investigations by Atharu showed that it was not curable.[5][4] Under Temaku, Atharu was directed to examine the changes in the Empress's disease from before the vitae treatment and after.[3] They had discovered that, in spite of the incredible properties of vitae in mending tissues, it could not eliminate diseases that were deeply embedded in the sufferer (such as, perhaps, genetic conditions).[3][4] Temaku ordered Atharu to conduct further examinations of the effects of dosage and timing, but what came of those investigations is not known.[4]

Atharu's superior Temaku was confident of the power of vitae, both as medicine and as weapon, though it is unknown if this opinion was widely shared among other alchemists such as Atharu herself. One of Empress Tihana's other titles, "Last and Eternal," suggests that the populace believed in her longevity, or was told to believe in it by the Empire.[6] However, Tihana was openly unhappy to the head alchemist Temaku about her possible eternal life and about her inability to bear children, and Temaku, for whatever reason, did not endeavour to fix Tihana's now-barren womb.[5] He also ordered Atharu not to report these facts to the Empress.[3] Drawing conclusions about Atharu's own opinion from that of her superior's is impossible, but his candor to Atharu and his order not to pass on emotionally-damaging medical revelations to the Empress show that some alchemists like Atharu are probably aware of the role vitae plays in extending Empress Tihana's life and the limitations its use presents.

Vitae extraction[]

The improvement of vitae extraction techniques was a major priority for Temaku and other alchemists. Ensuring an adequate supply of vitae for Empress Tihana, as their first concern, meant experimenting with various methods of inducing the appropriate fear in a conscious subject. This was usually done in inhumane ways, through torture both mental and physical on captive subjects.

It also meant expanding production to great levels, especially initially, as techniques of torture were inefficient and subjects gave up very little vitae before being exhausted and/or killed. Ghouls were used to both create fear in subjects and to carry out the actual extraction of vitae.

Dwf a museum slabs 1

Refinements of the process[]

Eventually, the alchemists discovered that short cycles of creating, then abating fear and pain, meant a continuous and rich flow of vitae could be maintained.[7] Alchemists further realized that a combining short sessions with chemically-induced amnesia to keep the subjects perpetually ignorant of their past torture.[8] They also used a method, refined in development by an Otherworlder named Suvar, called the "memory-view process."[7] In this process, memory capsules were used to keep subjects from becoming despondent (wherein they would produce very little vitae, no matter how much torture they underwent) by reintroducing pleasant and hopeful states of mind, thus resetting their baseline.[8][7]

Public opinion[]

Public opinion of the process was, in some part, very negative. Certain alchemists hoped development of new extraction techniques would allow them to reduce the number of "stock" while maintaining the same output of Vitae.[9] Temaku, whether or not he had the same opinion, did consider improving the public image of the production process to be important enough that he directed research towards reducing "the cycle of pain" for that reason.[7]

Vitae and imperial power[]

Atharu may not have been directly involved in the political decision to massively increase vitae production, in spite of advances in extraction technique, and use its power for military purposes, as well as to "increase living standards" for citizens.[9] However, she was instrumental in its implementation.

Gate collapse[]

The final destruction of the Great Gate resulted in a "white sun" that devastated "the air and the land" and caused the annihilation of the inhabitants of the Other World's Imperial capital.[1] The energies associated with the Orbs in this sabotage apparently were extreme enough to wipe all life from the city, turn bodies to ashen statues, and dry up usable water. One of the more horrific side effects was the interaction of these destructive energies and the enigmatic Ankhari stones used by the alchemist order to control the Harvesters. The cataclysmic event apparently caused the transformation of those holding them into nightmarish Wraiths.[1]

Fate[]

Atharu's fate is unknown by the time of Rebirth, as there is no concrete evidence to suggest her survival or demise. As one of the Empire's alchemists, it's possible that, if Atharu was holding a control stone at the time of the destruction of the Great Gate, she could have become a Wraith along with the rest of her order. However, it is equally likely that she perished in the calamity or survived the initial destruction and continued elsewhere.

References[]

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