The Quiet One Vesh Silker is called home to his village hidden under a waterfall in the early summer of his second year of boarding school. Despite the promising weather, the village is in a panic, for the local religious authorities have just issued a much-needed correction to the calendar based on more accurate astronomical observations. This would ordinarily be the subject of great relief, since it's clearly awkward to have the equivalent of the month of January in midsummer; however, the adjustments to the year now mean that the world's greatest evil is due to be waking up about a decade earlier than expected.
Vesh arrives home to learn that his entire family has been summoned and he is the second to arrive — his sister Ifria was first. She informs Vesh that the village elders will require the family, as the most powerful possessors of bloodline true name magic in the village, to perform a ritual to conceal the waterfall village from the impending threat. Tawy Silker, Vesh and Ifria's mother, arrives already worried about her husband Adrian. Both Ifria and Vesh took the river route home, but Tawy took the forest route and encountered very strong, dangerous creatures which she was barely able to fight off. Her worries are not unfounded: Adrian stumbles through the upper back gate of the village with a broken arm and a nasty collection of bruises not long after.
The elders insist that the Silker family carry out the rite, despite Adrian's injuries. The Silkers are hardly pleased, but Tawy understands the dire implications of the calendar adjustment all too well. They perform the ritual. The elders accost them as they emerge from the temple sanctuary. The ritual didn't complete, and there's only one possible interpretation for the almost-done result: not all of the Silker family was present. Tawy and Adrian are too close to accuse each other of infidelity, Ifria has never been away from the village long enough to have a child in secret, and Vesh still has the magical mark of his virginity, a strong but not 100% guaranteed indicator. The elders refuse to back down — the only way to placate them is for each Silker to use their bloodline magic to Mind Probe each others' memories and find out who had sex with whom and what resulted. Naturally, the Silkers are very unhappy with this demand, but the elders threaten them with imprisonment and worse.
Faced with the prospect of having their true names released into the world, the Silkers use their blood telepathy on each other. Tawy reads Ifria and vice versa and find nothing while exhausting themselves to the point of illness, then Adrian reads Vesh and finds nothing. Then Vesh reads Adrian and discovers a horrific suppressed memory in his father's deeper past: while adventuring alone about a year after Vesh's birth, Adrian was attacked, subdued, poisoned, and impregnated by a parasitic demon of the deep jungle. Prompted by the Mind Probe, Adrian vividly remembers his rape — and his son has to watch.
The elders are hardly sympathetic. With an Eldritch Abomination looming the very near future, their home is only mostly protected and therefore not protected at all. Even though the Silkers are exhausted and traumatized, the elders decide that they must go out into the world and find the Half-Human Hybrid tentacle child of Adrian's, bring it back, and complete the protection of the village. After that, of course, the Silkers will be expected to join the prophesied band of other bloodline mages in the fight against the Thousand Year Evil.
- Functional Magic : Three major types, and about a dozen specialist types. The main one, practiced by the Silkers and their allies, rivals, and enemies is a form of...
- I Know Your True Name : A true naming system tied to immediate family blood ties. To use an ally's full first name can give that ally an immense burst of power in a necessary moment; to use an enemy's full name can inflict torture and crippling weakness on them. If a true name is leaked out, it can only be transferred under certain circumstances (names cannot be guessed even from obvious hints, for example) — this limits the consequences, but the enemies who know the name must still be systematically hunted and killed to get the name back.
- Gender Bender Magic : The bloodline system is also premised on each user embracing and using two aspects of their personality and power, a masculine side and a feminine side. This is reflected in the splitting of a person's full first name into two halves. A person uses the half of their name that corresponds either to their physical sex by default, or their main gender if they have a preference.
- Power Perversion Potential : When part of your powers depends on cross dressing and embracing both femininity and masculinity...
- Truly Single Parent : None of the protagonists, but it is possible for a female bloodline mage running a truly powerful spell on the masculine principle to spontaneously conceive what amounts to a clone of herself. If a female mage is running a spell that powerful, though, it usually means she's in dangerous combat and the subsequent magical effects on her body almost always spontaneously abort the clone.
- Initiation Ceremony : True names are made powerful and magically rendered secret without the deaths of the knowers in this one-time ceremony at the user's arranged first sexual experience.
- Eldritch Abomination : A Sealed Evil in a Can who escapes its can every thousand years (give or take a few years) to wreak havoc on the world. Part of the reason for the world's Anachronism Stew Medieval Stasis. All of the bloodline mages in the world are required, coerced, pestered, and chivvied into attempting to deal with it; their level of success determines how bad the inevitable devastation is.
- The Silker Family : Player Party, Badass Family, all of them are Wholesome Crossdressers sometimes due to the way their magic works
- Vesperesh Silker (m: Vesh, f: Pess) : The Quiet One, a Boarding School student, Virgin Power, BrotherSister Incest (with his Half-Human Hybrid brother, after the family finds him)
- Tenefria Silker (f: Ifria, m: Teff) : Lady of War, Cool Big Sis, Archer, Geeky Turn-On, Lawful Stupid
- Avritawy Silker (f: Tawy, m: Avri) : Action Mom, The Determinator, Attack! Attack! Attack!, Post-Victory Collapse
- Adriating Silker (m: Adrian, f: Ting) : The Woobie, Papa Wolf, Eyes Always Shut, Trauma-Induced Amnesia, victim of Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong, Unstoppable Rage, has a Head Pet
- Seohierrow Silker (m: Hierrow, f: Seori) : Half-Human Hybrid, Bizarre Alien Biology, Bishōnen, Easily Forgiven (or rather, easily accepted into the family, quickest by his father whose rape resulted in his birth), Wide-Eyed Idealist, Took a Level in Badass, Anything That Moves
- Now, Where Was I Going Again? : Nope, not a player. The Silkers themselves are so disaffected by their quest that after they find Hierrow they take the long way around and willfully allow themselves to be distracted by anything and everything.
- Refusal of the Call : The Silkers are not really happy about any of the crap that gets dumped on at a time in their lives when they are vulnerable and trying to help Adrian through his trauma. They don't refuse so much as drag their heels, dodge responsibility as far as they can, and bitch about the call to whoever will listen.
- Schizophrenic Difficulty : Enemies near the village are moderately difficult. Populated areas are surrounded by easier foes, but setting off across a waste means serious danger. Nothing is consistent with any of the maps.
- We ARE Struggling Together : Bloodline mages are recalcitrant and uncooperative to the point where many of the legends spend as much time Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like as they do describing the appalling evil and devastation wrought by the Big Bad.