Selenea's Heartstone Item in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Selenea's Heartstone

Night hags are terrible and fearsome abherrations that can be formidable opponents to any adventurer. The Night Hag known as Selenea, the Dark Queen of the Feywood is perhaps the most formidable of all her sisters. She has grown in powers and abililities beyond those of most other night hags, but like her sisters, much of what makes her fearsome and powerful is embedded in an artifact that she must possess and guard closely in order to retain her prowess. That item is Selenea's Heartstone.

Physical Appearance

Selenea's Hearstone resembles that of any other nighthag: it is a large, smoothly polished moonstone shaped with an inverted teardrop shape that vaguely resembles a heart. A setting of silver holds it securely; this is hung from a simple black-dyed leather thong that is worn around her neck. The thong is long enough for Selenea to wear the stone concealed beneath her clothing. Because the color of the thong blends well with her skin tone, it is difficult to tell whether she is actually wearing the stone at any given time.

The stone itself is a moonstone of the highest gem quality. It is an almost translucent pale white and appears to have an inner, pulsing glow of moonbeam-like white. The gem does not truly pulse; a slight to and fro movement generates this effect.

Significance to Selenea

Among those in the know, any hag's power lies in its heartstone. The reason for this is that, literally, a portion of the hag's essence resides in the stone. It is that essence that uses the stone to tap the Six Energies to give a hag magical prowess.

Selenea, like her sister hags, considers her heartstone to be more than simply her prized possession - it is a very part of herself. She will protect her heartstone and keep it from covetous hands at all costs, for without it, she is not "whole".

Significance to Others

As Selenea is certainly the most powerful night hag in all of the Feywood, and perhaps on all of Cartyrion, her heartstone represents a particular essence of evil power. It is rumored that there is a cult, mostly consisting of Elves and Half-elves, that consider Selenea a deity, and her heartstone is her symbol. It is further rumored that there are collectors of unique items in cities such as Endmere and Baron's Point that would pay handsomely for the chance to add this artifact to their collections.

It is the nature of heartstones that, after being separated from their associated hag for more than a day, they lose their magical focus properties and become nothing more than the ordinary (but still valuable) gemstones they appear to be. Thus, anyone stealing a heartstone with the intent of using its abilities to cast powerful magics had better get the casting done within a day. Finally, there are two rumors involving heartstones that abound within the adventuring community, and both are false.

The first is that one way to permanently destroy a night hag is to destroy her heartstone. Crushing or otherwise destroying the stone does no immediate damage to the hag at all, nor does the hag experience any phantom pain, discomfort, or disorientation. They do, however, lose access to the magic of stone forever.

Magical Abilities

Selenea's Heartstone grants her four special magical abilities. The first three are the typical gifts of any night hag's heartstone; the fourth is unique to Selenea and her stone:

Ethereal Travel
Selenea can freely enter the Ethereal Realm and move about it at will. Some of the magical powers and attacks at Selenea's disposal can be launched from within this realm, but she is generally safe from harm unless her opponent is also in the realm.

At the moment of its fall, Selenea can snatch the soul of the dying creature and bind it into the heartstone. While so trapped, it is impossible for any sort of magic to resurrect the fallen victim. The soul cannot pass onto its next life until either Selenea wills it to be released, or the gemstone is destroyed. (Note that separating the heartstone from Selenea so that it loses its power will not release a trapped soul. Typically, a night hag can trap only one soul, but Selenea has grown in practice and prowess, and can trap two.

Power of Shadow
This ability allows Selenea to reach through the Ethereal Realm into the Realm of Shadow. Shadowstuff grasped from that place is then magically shaped and directed in a blossoming wave capable of dealing damage in almost any manner Selenea wishes. The damage may be the burning of fire or acid, the slashing of a thousand blades, the jolt of lightning's energy, the bludgeoning thud of brute force, or something else entirely.

Waking Nightmares
This ability, one unique to Selenea among all night hags, allows her to deliver a nightmare into the consciousness of a target even if the target is currently awake and active. If the target succumbs, it immediately enters a sleep-like state and experiences the nightmare. Selenea provides the "setting" and "plot" of the horrible dream, but the target themselves fills in the details from their own worst experiences.

The second is that unless the stone is also destroyed, a slain hag is not truly dead, and will eventually return. This is also not true. If a hag is killed, her essence within the stone will linger for a day before dissipating - just as it will if the stone is separated from the hag. Once that happens, the stone is nonmagical, and has no ability to "recall" the hag to the world of the living.

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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E. Christopher Clark
12 Aug, 2022 11:19

First: I love the term Night Hag. Second: I love the way that these things work, and the humor in your wording that anyone who steals a heartstone better do their magical business right-quick. But most of all, and this is super-geeky writery stuff, I love that you kept my attention during the Physical Appearance section—even though I desperately wanted to skip ahead and read more about the story you teased in the introduction. Well done, sir!

18 Aug, 2022 13:02

Night Hag is an old staple in D&D. But I will be creating several new Hag types for the Feywood. Keep an eye out for more! In the meantime, though, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It's great when folks take that extra bit of time to let us know our stuff is being read!

Check out my latest efforts:
Laurels & Loot is a new, lightweight TTRPG rules system that hearkens back to the early days.
The Forgotten Academy is a mega-dungeon being created for the #Dungeon23 Challenge
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