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Frozen Heart of Cocytus (Major Artifact)

Aura strong divinationCL 15th; Slot none; Price —; Weight 2 lbs.

DESCRIPTION

At a glance, this object appears to be a hard, dark, roughly egg-shaped rock. Closer inspection reveals it’s actually a humanoid heart—frozen hard, solid, and covered in smooth ice. When clenched in a fist, it feels like it throbs, though the organ remains unmoving and unyielding to the eye. It’s said to once have been the heart of a gelugon, and before that it was the heart of a human being. Staring at it causes the surface to gloss over with darkened ice and makes the observer’s eyes swim. Once the holder knows to study it, the heart functions as a crystal ball with telepathy.

The heart has a more sinister secret ability. With practice, mythic creatures can use the heart to scry more than just individuals, but entire settlements and cities. As the owner does, her mind becomes flooded with information about the region. Initially this knowledge consists of facts about population size, local economy, agriculture, leaders, and popular deities worshiped in the area.

The owner feels a powerful desire to continue watching, and if she does so while taking no other breaks except to eat and sleep, the information continues unabated. Over the course of 1d10 days, the heart reveals much more: the subtle social, religious, and economic influences of the settlement; the strengths and weaknesses of its leaders; and all the many secrets both pedestrian and profane that could be used to manipulate and extort those with power over the location. At this point, the heart begins to communicate to its new owner, suggesting courses of action that would bring her a higher social station, wealth, and power in that area. The heart’s advice is almost always sound, but also always driven toward an unfortunate and evil outcome for someone—just not necessarily its owner. If the owner refuses to heed its advice, eventually the heart vanishes, seeking a more pliant puppet to manipulate.

Legends suggest that those who never question the heart’s orders or decline its gift of knowledge eventually disappear to whatever cold place from which the heart originated.

DESTRUCTION

The heart must be carried to the plane of Elysium and submerged for a day in the warm waters in the settlements of the azata. Once melted, a willing kiss from a brijidine upon the now beating heart causes it to burst and turn to dust.