Jenny read over the novella's current draft yesterday and gave me some frank feedback. Thanks, Jenny. The most complementary comment: "You made dwarves interesting."
To my other reviewers: get your asses in gear. Thank you.
The most important thing that Jenny reminded me is that the novella is a developmental work. I am writing to develop a place and a setting.
The novella does not quite follow many fantasy conventions, yet does have some. I have not resolved them. I may choose to not resolve them at all. I may simply leave the reader hanging.
I tell you, there is something not working somewhere in this novella, and it may be systemic. There is something about the STORY, its structure or its outlook or its assumptions that just does not quite work. I have yet to put my finger on it.
Some things are working. Fairly late in this draft, I decided that dwarves just needed to be ungodly tough. Small communities of dwarves can handle throngs of goblin enemies. These guys are knock-down, drag-out survivors, even the pacifists.