Kagur, a headstrong young Kellid warrior, has been tested in battle against orcs, wolves, and saber-tooth cats. When members of her tribe turn up slaughtered or missing, she and her adopted frost giant brother don't hesitate to track the attackers down into the very shadow of the Worldwound. Yet what awaits Kagur in the cursed Red Rune canyon will test her more than any orc ever could, and may shake her confidence to the core.
From acclaimed author Richard Lee Byers comes an eerie tale of bravery and conviction set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
In Red Rune Canyon is a four-part series of free Pathfinder web fiction (available here) that serves well as a prequel to the novel Called to Darkness. The short story is set in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords and features Kagur, a brave warrior loyal to her tribe (the Black Lions) and her adopted brother, a frost giant named Eovath. The story is full of exciting action scenes and develops the bond between Kagur and Eovath nicely, which is something that makes the novel better. It’s a worthwhile read.
The story starts with Kagur and Eovath as part of a hunting party trying to track down a creature responsible for murdering members of other tribes. The creature’s trail leads to the forbidden Red Rune Canyon, a place known for strange magic and phenomena as (I think) it borders the Worldwound. Later parts of the story feature a tense and exciting battle against ghouls and then the appearance of some kind of demon that kidnaps Eovath! Kagur has to bully a captured ghoul into helping find her brother. The concluding battle against the demon is done well and is satisfying.
One of the things I really liked about In Red Rune Canyon is that it shows the kinship between Kagur and Eovath while at the same time subtly hinting to Eovath’s dissatisfaction with is “adoption.” This is a major theme of the novel and I wish I had read this short story first. I’ll also note that there’s some really good artwork for Kagur.
Overall, this isn’t a mind-blowingly original piece of Pathfinder fiction, but it’s a solid, entertaining read.