Dwarves of Appalachia



Prologue: Just Another Day in the Cave of Wonders.


    2040, Barthel, KY (Formerly)

    Slowly, stealthily, sneakily… That is not how the party of five made their way into the damp dungeon. Water dripped down the walls at a slow, near gelatinous pace and after the first room consisting of nothing but half foot tall spider crabs with three-inch pincers; the group was not in the greatest of moods. 

    “How was I supposed to know some of the critters in here’d be ankle-biters?” The muscular half-elf man in the front of the group complained back to the rest of his groaning party. 

    “I don’t know, nor do I care, you’re the one who convinced the rest of us we should take a run today because you heard about some legendary loot or something. You’d think your heart’s desire would be enough on any day of the week but no. You gotta be greedy and bring us to one of the oooooonly places in the entire world that I can only describe as that word.” The dullahan earth mage complained from under her own armpit. As if the word caused her physical nausea, "moist."

    Much less messy but way more annoyed than the others in her group. Being able to hold your own disembodied head had its perks; like being able to keep it low enough that mystery goop doesn’t get in your hair. It also had some disadvantages; like being closer to the ground on average and the subsequently stronger stench. 

    “Leave him alone Ayana, he’s shirtless, wearing shorts, It’s clear he’s suffering the most out of all of us.” The harpy archer of the group spoke out, looking straight ahead at the dedicated role-player’s muscular, sweaty back. 

    “Put your tongue back in your mouth darlin’ onea those crabbos sees that thing hangin out so far and drippin more juices than a leaky faucet and it mightn’ just drop from the ceilin and snip it.” The shortest member of the group spoke up, a brownie dual wielding short blades, only around four and a half feet tall; the harpy had been drooling directly onto his head. 

    As the group finally walked through the long stairway into the much larger second floor the fifth member finally spoke up. “Hey, uhm, everyone.” The brown-skinned hobbit medic tapped the four arguing members of his party as a gigantic wolf was quite literally crawling along the ceiling. 

    The room was suddenly filled with a thick green mist as the lupine shape dropped from the ceiling into a puddle of goo in the middle of the floor. A loud howl is all anyone heard next as the large shape in the middle of the room began changing. 

    “Behind us!” The hobbit once again called out to his distracted party as his magically enhanced vision saw enemies inbound. “Slimes, four of them. Two at three Micky, one with the other behind it at fifteen meters twelve noon Kalia.”

    Micky, the role-play loving Barbarian swung his mighty axe down, the half-elf barbarian putting his whole weight into the crescent swing mimicking a golf-player perfectly. The axe sailed right through the bodies of both of the slimes on his right destroying their cores as they melted into the ground. “Two!” Micky called out as he braced himself, eyeing the lupine form in the middle of the room as its legs began to split apart. 

    Kalia the harpy brought her bowstring right to the edge of her nose as she listened to her spotter, sighting the exact distance she aimed a few inches above the floor, right where the average slime monster would be rushing. With a loud twang, the arrow was loose, shattering the slimes core in one quick motion the force caused it to detonate; singing the slime right behind it in the fluid from the sudden explosion. 

    While all of this was going on Ayana was not being slow, she exerted her will on the stone of the cavern, forcing it up in a wall-like motion. One wall at a time was her plan, creating a bottleneck to help engage the powerful beast. 

    The first wall of meter-thick of stone forced its way into solidity; blocking off a good six meters to the left. Gasping and holding onto the short brownie she pants doing her best to catch her breath. “Just a. Second. One is up. Room big.”

    Just then the whole party saw what was attacking them. 

    “I thought you said that was a wolf, Bart!” Micky said as he pushed forward with his axe sideways; blocking the forward charge and forcing the mouth of the beast open. The wolf-like head was split open, it’s jaw separated like mandibles. The beast's legs were odd as well, Beastlike legs pushed it forward with rippling muscles making huge gouges in the stone floor with its claws. A leg sprouting from each shoulder and hip joint of bone and meat tendons also accompanied the base four as well, making the entire beast look like an unholy combination of lupine and arachnid. 

    Slamming its head sideways while biting down hard on the massive axes wooden haft it forced Mickey to the ground, pushing him several feet to the left. Bart quickly rushes forward smashing the wolflike muzzle’s nose with his round mace causing the beast to yelp loudly and slink back into the mist. 

    "What… what in the hell was that.” Ayana spoke quietly as the group listened for the stalking monstrosity. 

    “My Dungeoneer’s glass called it a ‘Spider-Wolf’ level twenty one. Be careful, even if its average stat is just two times a human I doubt its strength is lacking. You alright Micky?” Bart said, getting into the center of the formation and running his hand over the would-be barbarians arm; closing a large gash made from the beasts extra appendage. 

    Micky coughed up a small amount of blood. “Yeah, hurt me good though. It feels like somethin’s broken but you know how hard it is to tell in here. What about you kyle? You ready whenever this thing comes at us again?”

    The brownie, dual-wielding both daggers, had a glint in his eye. “You know it.”

    Almost on cue; the spider-wolf attacked again, rushing at Kalia as Micky sidestepped in front of her. Not blocking but slamming the half-moon shape of metal into the jaws of the beast as it tried to bite around it. 

    "Ready!” Kyle yelled as he dug his dagger into the beasts windpipe. Green blood spurted from the wound as the beast let out a garbled howl once again retreating. 

    “Think we got em?” Kalia asked with a shaky voice, already knocking another arrow to her bow. 

    “Nah, not yet. Couldn’t get an artery.” Kyle said as a shuffling noise could be heard all around them in the thick green mist. It was starting to settle as everyone looked for their amalgam attacker. 

    “Just two rooms today, this is the final boss, no way it goes down that easy.” Micky whispered back. “I heard if we can finish it before the mist goes down all the way we get a bonus.”

    Kalia, upon hearing the increase in her payday was more than happy to exchange her arrows. Pulling out an adept enchanted arrow she allowed her life magic to funnel energy into the already dimly glowing shaft. “Oooooh, it’s on then.”

    Ayana screamed as she pushed upward with her arms. Her magical ability bottoming out as the gooey muddy wall starts falling apart barely half-formed. “Th-this room’s bigger than I tho…”

    The wolf jumped from the ceiling, slamming directly into Ayana growling and gnashing its teeth and mandibles. Red liquid coated the floor and Ayana was gone, her form magicked away like all of those who fall in the dungeon. 

    Micky screamed loudly, slamming his axe into the side of the wolf, or at least, that was his plan. The two bony limbs crisscrossed in front of his axe, blocking it and then swiftly pushing him away, slamming him into the rocky wall created by the now vanquished earth mage. 

    Bart, positioned on the other side with his mace had much greater luck as the blunt club-like weapon shattered the bony appendages blocking his attack. A sickly crunch could be heard by all in the room as the right side of the spider-wolf’s rib-cage caved in. 

    The maimed monstrosity failed to avoid the arrow of nature’s bounty impacted its front shoulder on the damaged side. Immediately strength was leached from the beast as a plant started to sprout from the wound. 

    Kyle, seeing his chance, dove in again, changing the angle of his blade and sending it deep into the wolf's neck. Gushing green blood coated the blade as an artery was torn open, but the spider-wolf stood after ripping out the arrow with its mandabled mouth. Looked down at the would-be assassin and roared a beastly, impossible roar from its hideous mouth. Kalia, rushing to the stunned brownie’s aid, was hit in the small of her back. The boney appendage passing through the air right where her flesh once was as Kalia the harpy archer was taken away by the dungeon. 

    Micky, limping over helped hold down the spider-wolf with Kyle as Bart took his mace and as painlessly as possible, broke the beast's neck.

    The green mist in the room was barely still floating in the air, however, the bright blue glow of a rare treasure chest greeted them, signifying they had completed the time challenge. 

    “Think it was worth it?” Bart asked. His mace still dripping emerald as they walked toward it.

    “Oh yeah, I’d definitely come again, hey, didn’t you sign out of the reward pool kyle? Sucks to be you. We got the whole reward, and it’s just us two to share it with.” Micky laughed with a wink as Kyle continued on to the third room. Where only a mining lamp and a small opossum were located. A few old knick-knacks here and there but the lamp was the real prize.

    Bart and Micky walked away with their bars of Damascus, giggling at each other over the eight bars of legendary steel they had both just found.

    Kyle, on the other hand, walked up slowly, reverently to the old cracked mining lamp on the pedestal in the middle of the room. Slowly bringing his hand to the side of the lamp giving it a rub a massive red mist filled the room a Booming voice spoke directly into the brownie’s mind.

    “Conqueror of the dungeon, what is your wish?” The voice boomed with majesty in his mind but no clear form showed itself to him. 

    A smile crossed Kyle’s lips as he pulled out his nephew’s birthday list. “Oh, it’s not what I wish.~”


    In the year 2037 the world was facing disaster. Years of ignorance and sloth had let the world slide ever so near the edge of the void. In February of that year, President Cortez signed into law the ‘Terra Defense Initiative,’ stating that anyone willing to help would have their history expunged save for violent actions. A clean start for workers, all debt was forgiven, most charges were dropped, soon the prison system was virtually empty as more and more workers moved to change their future, to defy fate.

     Soon, before even July of that year, other countries had begun to ask if they may take part. A chance to wipe out national debt was one that many countries, especially now, could not ignore. Before the end of the year, every single country of the world had at least 1 member signed on to the agreement. 


October 17th 2037

     That was the date everything changed. The date it all came back. On this day, the last nation was added to the Terra Defence Initiative or TDI. When the chief of the native people set his pen down and shook the hand of the woman president.. a portal, something unlike anything seen in recorded history to this point, appeared at the far end of the room. It was as if someone silently opened a door and tried to come inside without disturbing the scene. 

     Soon the room was filled with different… races, different races all thought to be legend or superstition. Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Oni, Lizardmen… Over twenty different races of people came out of the shimmering spinning purple void. The room was completely silent, the President’s guard having enough sense to not make the first move.

     A small gnome came out of the portal last, merely a foot and a half tall with a wide grin spanning a majority of his small round face. His robes were covered in small arcane work, the letters dimly shining, looking like the stars on a spotless night. “Greetings from the past!”

     On that day, MAGIC returned to the world. 

     Many new and various things came from the return of magic to the once normal world, the prime example being. ALCHEMY, the ancient lost art seemed to once again be active. Long ancient texts once thought proven to not have any useable information, soon became wholly factual. An entire division of science had been cut off from the world for millennia. It was as if the last imperceptible piece of the puzzle was filled in.

     Soon, other once mundane things also began pulling in the ambient mana returned to the world by the signing of the TDI….


About the author


Bio: Amateur writer and ravenous reader. I do my best to keep consistent if not generous updates, comments are welcome and encouraged. Nonbinary Zebra.

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