Digging Up Roots
by Nightshade

Five days into the conference. Keven Balance sighed to himself as he walked through the Tree Palace alone. It was night, and no one else was around. My father built this place, now mine to protect.

Walking up one of the flights of stairs, he paused and remembered running up these very steps in the futile attempt to save the Seed's seal. The despair he had felt still lingered. "It was the last Seed, and we'd failed." Keven had confided in Luka.

Luka had smiled, and her reply was gentle. "You never failed. Everything happens for a reason."

"I guess..."

"Think of it this way. What would have happened if you had stopped Thanatos at this very Palace? The Fortress wouldn't have risen. The Mana Tree wouldn't have been able to awaken the Elementals to action. It would have happened at another time..."

"Because Time flows like a river, and History repeats."

It's all happened before. And now I'm supposed to get a genealogy lesson on my family name. Taking a deep breath Keven mounted the stairs to the Seed room.

Dryad was waiting for him. "On time, young child." the Elemental greeted warmly.

Keven smiled back. "Yeah, I'm here. I think more to end the suspense you've been giving me."

The Elemental laughed. "True, isn't it?" she motioned him closer to herself and the Seed. "My words are for your ears only."

"But anyone could be at the door listening!"

"Not likely." Dryad smiled and laughed, "I've got Shade and Luna looking after that." Seeing Keven's confused face she put a hand on his shoulder. "Our silence is being broken. I will do the same when it comes their time to talk."

Keven nodded. "So, uh, what did you want to talk about?" he had so many questions to ask her. I wonder, though, if she'd answer any of them.

"Of course I will!" Dryad looked him in the eyes. "Ask, and I'll answer."

Breaking the stare Keven looked at the Seed. It illuminated the room, the green glow somehow comforting. "OK," he took a deep breath, "Who are my parents?"

"But you know that answer, little one!"

"Not really. I don't know names, except for my father's. I don't know history. I just... just want to understand what I feel, who I am."

Dryad smiled while pausing for a moment. "You are much like your mother. Her name was Faith. You know your father's is Serin. They were a perfect couple - I couldn't have asked for better."

A puzzled expression overcame Keven. "'You couldn't have asked for better?' I don't get it."

It took a moment before Dryad answered. Meanwhile she had her eyes closed and seemed nervous. "Your father's father, Richardo, founded the Forest Tribe. Its main objective was to protect the Mana Tree. Men and women like him were granted almost immortality by the Creator - they were selfless in their causes. Those gifts were passed to their children, including your father.

"As far as your mother's bloodline, her father was the High Priest of the Mana Tree for eons." Dryad waved her hand around, "He was pretty boring compared to your other grandfather. Your mother's mother however..." she sighed and smiled. "Have you ever heard of Storyteller?"

Keven's eyes widened. "Storyteller? She was real??!!!"

Dryad nodded. "And you are her grandson. You're taking this almost as well as your mother. But I should let you sleep. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the morning. I don't want you to be in total shock."

As she walked away Keven worded a question in his mind. "Wait!" Dryad was almost out of the room by that time. "You didn't mention who my father's mother was."

Dryad didn't turn around for a period of time. When she did, tears formed in her eyes. Sensing she wasn't going to walk anywhere Keven when over to her. The kindness in Keven's eyes broke Dryad. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry! I... I... I am... your grandmo..mo..ther..."

The two figures held each other while the night continued its course, the stars and wind healing all tears.

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