Shem Barkwater was the son of Cal Barkwater and Noll Barkwater. He married Twig's daughter, Keris Verginix, and they had a son, Rook. He, Keris, and Rook lived with Shem's uncle, Tem Barkwater, in the Free Glades when Rook was young, but he and Keris were killed by slavers when they set out to visit their slaughterer relatives.