Meet Runt, part 1

The start of this story is here.

The tall man dropped his blade and let go of Chris.

I turned slowly and saw… Well totally not what I was expecting.

I had expected the Runt to either be a little skinny guy and therefor an actual runt or absolutely huge because that kind of joke is what passes for humour with the Hob. I wasn’t expecting him to be a tiny black woman dressed like a Japanese school girl and wearing one of those cat ear alice bands in her hair.

“Sorry about that. This lot get a bit over protective sometimes. You know how it is.” She said. For all her exotic looks her accent was even more Doric* than mine.

I nodded although I don’t actually know how it is. I am not one of those women that men feel overprotective of. I hear it’s a terrible burden.

“Please come inside for a cup of tea. And do bring your monkey.” She said.

The inside of the big caravan was completely at odds with the outside. It was a shrine to Japanese pop culture. I know people who could have spent the whole day going through the various posters and manga pages pasted up on the walls and ceiling.

She led the way to the back of the caravan where the traditional U-shaped seating area had been re-upholstered in mid brown fun fur that extended up the walls. I sat there trying to work out why it looked familiar while she went to the tiny kitchen area to put the kettle on.

“Will you take tea.” She said.

“No thank you.” Chris and I chorused. Rule one of dealing with the sith is never accept food, drink or any gift without knowing the conditions.

She sighed. “I am making this tea because I am thirsty. I offer it to you freely and expecting nothing in return and I do so out of respect for the obligations of a host amongst your people.”

“Fair enough. Then I’d love some.” I said.

“Ooh Catbus.” Said Chris.

It took me a moment to work out what he meant. Then I realised that the back of the caravan did indeed resemble the interior of the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro.

“Oh yeah. My kids would love this.” I said.

The Runt did a passable imitation of that tilted head bob thing that Anime characters do to acknowledge a compliment and express slight embarrassment. “Thank you for noticing.” She said, “No-one here gets it.”

She brought over a small table and then a tray set with a 19th century floral bone china tea set.

“You probably don’t know this but one of your ancestors traded this tea-set to one of my ancestors.” She said.

I imagine that for a moment I looked pretty blank then, “Good Grief. This is that tea set? You mean that story is true?” I said.** “I always thought it was the usual family bullshit.”

“Well his version of the story may well be bullshit. To be honest after all these years my family version of the story may be bullshit too. Whatever the truth of the matter this tea set came from your family to my family and we’ve kept it well because the teapot makes fantastic tea and it always feels a bit more special to drink out of bone china.”

*Doric is the patois of the Northeast of Scotland. Part impenetrable accent, part portmanteau language of Old English, Gaelic, Dutch and Norwegian with touches of just about every European Language. If you hear someone mentioning furry boots and questioning your humanity then they’re from the Northeast and they’ve actually just asked you where you’re from.

**No I’m not going to put the whole story down here. If you lot are interested I shall write it up and post it later.


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