Small Matters

Monte Cook

From a world magically transformed entirely into glass to a distant future where the Catholic Church of Osirus uses two singularities to manipulate time, the science fiction and fantasy stories of Small Matters take the readers to places unlike any they have visited before.

Brought to you from the mind of master world-builder and storyteller Monte Cook, these seven short stories tell tales of vengeance and honor. Love and murder. Loyalty and greed. As the title suggests, these are personal tales, not of world-saving quests but of people who face tough decisions that affect their own lives. Not all of them choose wisely…

From “Familiar Things”:

I’m not a bird. I know, I look like a bird. Yellow beak. Black feathers. The wings, it might seem, are a dead giveaway. I understand. Still, you have to trust me. I’m not a bird.

For one thing, I’m telling you a story. Have any in-depth conversations with a sparrow lately? Hear the latest gossip from a duck?

I didn’t think so.

So let’s just accept that I’m not a bird, and move on.

My current master’s name is Rasholt Kirain, but most everyone calls him Rasholt the Red. That’s just the kind of thing people do. Don’t ask me to explain it.

I’m not his first familiar.

His first was lost while Rasholt was exploring the deeper regions of the Locked Worlds. It happens. Not his fault. Familiars know the risks they’re taking. It’s part of the experience.

And a familiar’s death is really much worse for the wizard than it is for us. The familiar just discorporates and returns to the ethereal realms for a time. It’s not really death at all. We can’t die—not like you understand it, anyway. For the wizard, however, the ordeal feels similar to having an arm and a leg cut off. And losing your best friend. And all your good tools. All in one day. It’s rough, and for Rasholt it stung worse than for some, because his familiar had been with him for thirty-two years.

Of course, considering what’s going on today, I may turn out to be his familiar for considerably less time than that.


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