Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess

Part Four - Chapter Eight: The End of the Lawful Faction

It was on Starday, the 1st day of Planting, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon first encountered the rakshasa, Shiraka, leader of the lawful faction in the dungeons of the Power Tower in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Soon after the encounter, and a brief battle with him, the band cleared out the 5th dungeon level of the lawful section, including all the remaining flind, and was ready to descend to the next level.

Before doing so, however, they decided to sweep all the levels of the lawful section that they had so far explored with a spell to detect for secret doors. By doing so, they could be certain there were no other passageways leading into other sections of the levels they had already visited. The only secret door they found, in fact, was on the upper most level where, according to a notation found in Zelcon’s journal, the lawful faction had previously hidden away much of their treasure. This treasure had been moved, but the band believed they later found it stashed away in an area adjacent to the quarters of Shiraka.

With the upper levels of the lawful section now thoroughly searched, the band descended back down and continued on down the stairs to the next level with Brom scouting ahead invisibly as usual. After descending some 50 feet or so through the typical series of steps, broken up every 25 feet or so by a landing, the stairs continued on down with no sign of a sixth dungeon level. This made the band wonder if the sixth level was much deeper than expected, or if the stairs for the lawful section went past the sixth level and proceeded on down to the seventh level. Whatever the case, the stairs finally came to an end about 80 feet down.

As Brom neared the bottom, he heard the sound of movement below, followed by the sound of a large door being closed and a metal bar being set in place. When he peered around the corner, he found a sizeable lab containing a table filled with bottles, glassware, buckets, and moss cultures. Shelves around the room had similar items, while a slab of meat was soaking in a glass container. Many cruel looking knives lay about and to the right was a set of stone doors held fast with an iron bar.

When the rest of the band joined Brom, they took some time to look about the lab and found several magic potions and some books that appeared to record, in common, a series of experiments done in the lab. One of the entries in one of the books read, “We have finally found a moss potion mixture which causes permanent size increase. Tail spikes are now regenerating at an incredible rate.” This sounded to the band as if they had been experimenting on manticores, which the band had encountered once before, and that these manticores were probably the so-called pets that Zelcon’s journal had mentioned.

After the band did a fairly thorough search of the lab, Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell and took a look beyond the stone doors. But he found little except the edge of a large cave and darkness. So the band opened the doors, but once again they saw only a cave wall just a short ways in and behind that, a huge vaulted cavern that extended beyond the range of the band’s darkvision spells. Tadwin then sent an arcane eye into the cavern and saw many stalagmites, stalactites, and columns filling much of the huge chamber, which also had a very uneven floor. Hiding behind several of the rock columns, however, were about a dozen meenlocks, and towards the rear of the cave, guarding a sizable pile of treasure, were two enormous manticores. The manticores appeared very ferocious and quite mad, with wild staring eyes and drooling, fang –filled mouths.

The band quickly devised a plan and then had Diamond dimension door Corvyn and Brom right next to the manticores, while Tadwin and Zeke did the same but appeared a short distance away where they could easily attack the meenlocks. Brom tried to sneak in between the two meenlocks invisibly and undetected, but with their superior sense of smell the manticores sensed he was there and tried to attack him. Corvyn and Diamond, meanwhile, moved in to flank one of the manticores while Tadwin and Zeke launched fireballs at the meenlocks. One of the manticores stayed on the ground and fought back with its claws, teeth and tail spikes, while the other one took to the air and unexpectedly breathed fire on the band as it hovered above.

Shortly after the battle began, some members of the band realized they were being attacked with spells from an unknown source, when Corvyn suddenly stopped attacking and began looking about in some confusion. Tadwin came to Corvyn’s aid though by drawing near to him, thus allowing his protection from evil spell to shake off whatever spell was affecting Corvyn. With Corvyn back in the fight, the manticore on the ground was soon badly injured. Moments later, the unseen spellcaster revealed himself when he launched a lightning bolt at some members of the band. As expected, it was Shiraka, the rakshasa. At about the same time, Zeke cast a charm monster spell on the flying manticore, which had not been injured, and thereby managed to take it out of the fight.

Not long after that, the manticore on the ground, which proved to be very tough, was killed, while the vast majority of the meenlocks fled using their dimension door ability. The band then turned on Shiraka, who apparently had very few spells left and no means of escape. He resorted to fighting with his spear, but despite his resistance to weapons and spells, he did not last for long against the band and, like the first manticore, he too was finally killed.

With Shiraka dead, the lawful faction was effectively destroyed. Almost a dozen meenlocks had escaped, but it seemed unlikely that they would make any effort to try and ally themselves with any of the other factions or even with the wizards. Chances were that they would instead revert back to the normal behavior of meenlocks and remain hidden and elusive while the band carried on with their mission of eliminating the wizards. In time, the meenlocks could prove to be a nuisance and might eventually need to be dealt with. But they would be difficult to track down and for the time being, the band had more important matters to attend to.

One of these matters concerned the manticore that Zeke had charmed. Unless the manticore was threatened in any way, the charm spell would probably last a couple of weeks. But the thought occurred to the band that an enhanced, giant-sized, manticore could prove to be a very effective ally in the defense of their keep, providing, of course, that the manticore could be trusted and kept under control. The band thought it would be worth a try, so they decided to take the manticore back to the keep and take whatever steps they could think of to make it work.

The first step would be to get the manticore back to the War Tower. So Zeke cast a dimension door spell and took the manticore out of the Power Tower, while Tadwin teleported everyone else to the War Tower. A short while later, Zeke and the manticore also arrived at the War Tower, where Diamond then cast a heal spell on the manticore to cure its insanity.

Then, because he did not want to magically influence the manticore’s decision, Zeke removed the charm spell on it, and then made a proposal to the manticore, asking it if it would be willing to come live with them in their keep in the sky and serve as a guardian of the keep, so long as it abided by certain rules which Zeke then outlined. Realizing the offer was far more preferable to his previous situation (or to what might happen should he refuse the offer), the manticore readily agreed.

The following day, on Sunday, the 2nd day of Planting, Brom gave the manticore, whose name the band had learned by now was Moonraiser, a potion that allowed him to transform into a large bird, thus making it easier to take him into the sewers below the house in Greyhawk, through the gate, and on to Prism Keep. There, the band introduced Moonraiser to the rest of the band’s henchmen and set up some temporary quarters for the giant manticore.

According to their agreement, the manticore was not allowed to hunt any demi-humans, such as humans, dwarves and elves, nor any of their livestock or pets. But he could hunt down any other humanoids or wild animals he wanted, particularly in the nearby forests, hills and mountains. In exchange, the band would build accommodations more suited to the giant manticore and he would help defend the keep from any enemies. Finally, the band began the process of making plans for and constructing the agreed upon accommodations.

Since the band was already at the keep and dealing with these matters, the band decided to take some time off to train, study and learn new spells and potions, as they got the feeling that once they returned to the Power Tower, it would be in their best interest to continue pressing the attack until all the wizards were eliminated. In fact, they became so concerned that the wizards might come after them, that they all pitched in enough money to have Tadwin cast a spell on the house in Greyhawk which would hopefully prevent anyone from scrying on it or the sewers below. Money, at this time, was not an issue for the band, since the mines were now in full operation and business was good at the pawn shop.

Ten more days then passed, during which time the band made several trips back to Greyhawk, and always in groups, as they prepared themselves for an extended visit to the Power Tower. On the evening of Waterday, the 12th day of Planting, the band was ready to return to the castle ruins.

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arkhemedes

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