From the introduction:
Ten years ago an epidemic swept through the region, killing many, maiming many more. The Sister Edna did all she could, but was struck down, losing her eyesight. A young woman, Alisia, came to the village and helped cure the plague. Since then, Sister Edna slowly lost her mind due to age. In reality, Alisia poisoned the sister to make sure she was no longer in the way. Over the next few years Alisia worked dark magic to make sure that all the women became fertile at the same time, and then aphrodisiacs to make sure they all conceived at about the same time. A year later the village suddenly gave birth to 15 babies, all incredibly healthy, not a single loss. The village credited the skills of Alisia for this blessing. However, during the pregnancies Alisia gave many tinctures to the mothers to be. These tinctures were laced with forbidden herbs and dark magic to slowly bind the infants mind to hers, and to a minor extent the mothers. Over the next 8 years the children had dreams that bound them together, they all meet with Alisia daily, and practice their hidden magical talents. Alisia treats it as a game, and so do the children. They are afraid to let their parents know, but then the adults are fairly pliable thanks to Alisia’s “medicines”.