North turns out to be somewhat fortuitous for our bearers of the banners of good and righteousness. Wren had the road watched, but her mercenaries were all posted on the road to the west. So when she gets the news, she has to go and confront the party herself. Wren takes flight and begins to summon all manner of creatures to attack. Trapped on a bridge crossing a rather large crevasse, the adventurers have no room to flee and are forced to confront the airbound diabolist and her fiendish creatures. At one end of the bridge, a large snake rushes their way, on the other end are strange wormlike humanoids whose skin seems to ooze off of them. This battle seems to be a fair match until Wren causes a magical darkness to surround the party. Unable to see, our heroes try and force their way past the oozing abominations (actually, they are devils, but they look abominable). Tuatha makes it out fist and begins to plug Wren with arrow after arrow. She launches her own magical arrows that are made of acid. No good for Tuatha. Once the devils and snake are bested, our heroes pay full attention to Wren. They manage to cause enough harm that she flees just as her backup is about to arrive.
The party flee by horse as fast as they are able. Apparently, Wren holds off on pursuit to lick her wounds, because her group never arrives to ambush in the night. The next day is eventless as well. One more night of camping is quiet, and then the group are on the their way to Steamhome.
Steamhome was built on the side of an inactive volcano by gnomes (To be fair, stone giants did the bulk of actual construction, but the gnomes designed it). As foretold by the name, Steamhome usess the natural steam vents of this volcano to power all manner of devices. The primary device is the enormous steam clock that encompasses all of Steamhome. The entire purpose of this place is to keep that clock running. No one is certain why the gnomes created this clock or what compels them to keep it going, but the clock has been functional for over 100 years and they don’t seem ready to let it stop anytime soon.
Just as the tower that is Steamhome comes into sight, our intrepid adventurers notice something unexpected. A galleon, strapped to a giant oblong balloon floats overhead on the way to Steamhome. There have been rumors of gnomish airships, but certainly none in the party expected to ever see one. This immediately put a new option of travel on the table. If that airship is heading West, then hopping a ride seems the obvious choice.
Another odd occurrence happens on the way to Steamhome. A small wagon train lies in shambles having recently been sacked earlier that morning. The merchant, a gnome named Jebeddo, wanders aimlessly in shock. Upon spotting the party he pleads for aid, proclaiming goblins ambushed them, carried off his goods and his horses, scared the drivers so much that they fled, and mortally wounded the guard. This guard, Larry the Gnome, is only mostly dead and with administrations from Arien he is mostly alive. Jebeddo thanks them for their kindness and offers to escort them into Steamhome, which is fortunate, since entry is very limited otherwise.
The guards at the front gates carry an interesting weapon. A brass tube that bells out on the business end attaches to a wooden stock. A trigger is located below the stock. Tuatha de Danonn becomes very intrigued by the application of the “blunderbuss” as the gnomes call it in his further adventures and he makes plans to buy them later.
Inside of Steamhome our heroes are confronted with a cacophony so deafening that they find themselves shout to their hosts. They see gnomish engineers communicated to each other with complex hand signals. The steam engine that drives the chain dominates this lower level. Above that, the chains carry steel balls up the central shaft of the tower until they disappear from sight. A giant pendulum swings very slowly about 100 feet over head. It takes some time to adjust to everything.
Jebeddo and Larry guide the party over to an elevator, which consists of a metal plate with railings not fit for anyone taller than four feet, driven by their own steam engine that causes gears to climb up a sort of metal ladder. This brings them to the living section of Steamhome, which is somewhat quieter and less chaotic. Most of the party find their way to The Keg Inn, save for Demos who quickly locates a potion shop and asks to use their lab. In the common room of the inn, Arien, Tuatha, and Larry meet Trover, the gnomish captain of the airship “Helen”, and Erik, the second in command and the only human in Steamhome. A bargain is reached with Trover for a ride West on the airship (though it costs 25 gold a head). Beer is consumed.
Since they want to leave as soon as possible, the adventurers are told to help facilitate the loading of goods onto the airship. This process is short lived, however. Wren and company quickly figure out where our heroes went and decide to forcibly enter Steamhome. This turns out to be an ill-conceived plan, as the gnomes aren’t keen on being invaded. The mercenaries are quickly captured as Wren takes flight. A battle ensues on the clock face (which points up towards the heavens) of Steamhome.
Wren sticks with her strategy of summoning awful things to attack our heroes. Tuatha, now the proud owner of a blunderbuss makes good use of it, but then switches to his trusty bow. Demos launches a plethora of magic missiles at Wren. Combined, they manage to wound her so severely that she has little choice but to flee down, heading back down the chain shaft of the tower. Demos decides to launch one last magic missile and it does the trick. Wren falls unconscious and then plummets 50-feet, landing on an elevator and dying on impact. The elevator, already on the way up, brings Wren back up to the clock face. Tuatha quickly cuts her head of, to be safe, and then sends it down the shaft towards the engine room of Steamhome.