It is always best to start a story at its beginning.
Far away, in lands far beyond the sky, during a time before the people began to count days, there was a fierce storm. The storm was dark and violent, and many people drowned in the great floods. Their homes were washed away, and only the people who lived very high on the mountains lived after the storm finally left, and the days were counted.
For fifty years, the water did not go away, and memories of the land below the water faded into old stories. Another fifty years, and the people thought there were only the rocky places they lived, and forgot there were other people anywhere. They had no boats and the waters were too deep to swim fearlessly through.
When the water finally receded, the people were frightened to go back down, and watched as the sea life died from the land. They began to slowly expand lower, but refused to touch the flat lands beyond their mountains and hills. These people almost died out before they finally learned to climb down the mountains, where they met and traded with other people they discovered.
Eventually, the people reclaimed the land and began to create farms, as described by the past generations, and they thrived. The people forgot about the great storm’s flood, and about living so high. Their feet seemed planted to one place more often than not, however.
It took until the 1208th year after the end of the storm for one of the people to wander away from his city. His legs refused to stop, and his eyes continued to gaze past the horizon, and the people feared for him, because although they continued to bring him back and scold him, he continued to wander as far as his legs could take him before he became hungry.
Although he could not go far, his wanderlust passed on to his children, and to their children, and their family was called the Walkers, because they refused to farm, and eventually took up trading with other cities and farms so they could avoid those who might scold them for wishing to move about.
In the 1500th year, a girl was born of the Walker family– the last Walker, for her father was dead, and she could not carry the name. When she grew to adulthood, the city head forced her to marry into a family of farmers, in hopes that their steadfastness could settle her children. The night of her wedding, as they consummated, she discovered her husband’s cruel nature and fled when he finally slept. Talula Walker was not seen again in the city of her birth, and when her mother died a month later, it was assumed the Walker family was finally crushed by the steadfast farmers, and the family Talula married into was given the name True, for they drove away the so-called curse of the Walker family.
Two years after the failed marriage between True and Walker, Talula’s would-be husband was married and fathered a boy with his new wife– a meek farmer’s daughter who hid away rather than reveal her husband’s coarse nature.
Baulto grew big and strong, and with his father’s strength, and his mother’s guidance, he became a young man who was ideal for protecting the livestock from wild animals. That soon became his job, and a suitable young woman was picked by the city head to become his wife. They were destined for happiness, until his father was murdered one night when Baulto and his wife, Kaline, were visiting some neighbors.
Baulto’s father was found with his belly slashed from groin to ribs, and his strewn innards made the entire farm house reek. His blood was sprayed along the walls and floor, and he rested on the bed, gripping the whip he carried everywhere. A single pair of travelling shoes rested at the end of the bed, small enough for a woman to wear, but in position for Baulto’s father to slip on if he returned to life and got out of bed.
The entire city was shocked. Since the storm’s end, none had ever seen such aggression. Some thought it was surely a wild animal. Others reminded them that none could get inside the house, because they had no thumbs or fingers. With unease, they buried him in the cemetery, and Baulto and Kaline mourned for a time, before Baulto’s mother walked out into the forest and never returned. The mourning began anew.
Something began to kill Baulto’s livestock, and he hired a trapper to find out what. After ten days, the trapper approached him.
“I saw what did it.” His voice was shaken. “It was a woman without any shoes. She wasn’t your mother, but she was similar aged, and she took only a small part of what she killed with her.” The trapper shook his head, then paused. “She used your father’s knife in the killing, the one that was missing when your mother found him.”
Baulto picked up his bow. “I will find this woman, and I will protect my animals from her.” He vowed. “My wife will give you the pay.” With those words, he left his home and ventured toward the nearby forest. He hid among the brush and trees, and he waited.
The sun fell, and rose, and fell again, and finally the woman appeared. She walked calmly to one of his pigs and lifted her life, but Baulto was faster than she, and he gripped her wrist. With a quick kick, he punted the animal to safety. “Why do you have this knife?” he asked, “And why do you hunt my animals?”
The woman tried to struggle, but she was feeble and thin. “The knife is my right, and I hunt to eat!” She thrashed and almost threw strong Baulto off herself, but he was too heavy.
She stopped struggling for a moment. “When a person kills an animal, the person takes its skin and flesh. It is the same.”
“You killed my father?”
“I killed my husband.”
“You are Talula?” The young man was shocked.
“I am your son-by-law, named Baulto. I must take you for punishment over what you have done.” He began to drag her toward the house, but she struggled with ferocity that was better-suited toward a wolf.
“I will not go back to that horrible place!”
Baulto slammed his fist into her head, and she became still as he carried her.