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~:: What's in a Name? - Chapter III ::~

The pale shades of dawn were filtering through the partially open curtains when she slowly stirred awake. The bed had been soft and warm. She slept more soundly than she could ever remember sleeping. She sat up and stretched as she looked around to orient herself to her surroundings.

Slipping out of the bed, she padded softly into the bathroom, and found her now dry costume hanging in the shower. With a bit of gentle tugging she found herself wrapped in the form-fitting bottoms. She gently smoothed the soft metal around her generous chest, tucking it in as she clasped her belt at the waist. She was just pulling on her boots when she heard the soft knocking at the door.

Jody beckoned her to join him in the kitchen. The table was laden with fresh melon, fluffy pancakes, and savory smelling sausage. He piled a plate high and slid it in front of her before filling a plate for himself.

"Eat up. You are going to need your strength. I am sure Azuria will have you running all over the city today. Unfortunately there's never a shortage of work for our cities heroes."

She nodded quietly and began to politely nibble at her breakfast. Once they were done, she helped him clear the table, and grabbing a soft towel, dried the dishes and stacked them on the counter.

"Okay, are you ready to go?" he asked with a grin.

She nodded and followed him out into the corridor and down the stairs to the parking lot where they climbed into his car.

He flipped on the radio as he pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the city hall. She sat in quiet solitude during the drive, mulling over what kind of name she wanted to use in her new career fighting crime in this unfamiliar city. She looked out the window as the drove. The streets were already bustling with throngs of people. And it seemed like every block had at least one group of miscreants huddling in the shadows, or standing on the sidewalk menacing unsuspecting bystanders.

She noticed the car slowing as he came to a gradual stop to let oncoming traffic clear the way for him to make a left into the huge parking lot behind the massive City Hall building. The familiar sound coming from the radio broke into her reverie.

"...You live in a church, where you sleep with voodoo dolls..."


It was the same song she'd heard the night before. The music was soft and the woman's voice had an almost ethereal quality to it.

"That is it."

He turned to her with a quizzical look. "That is what?"

"My new name. Voodoo doll."

He laughed softly. "See. I told you that you'd think of something."

"It was the song. The words in that song," she said as she shot him a warm smile.

He pulled into the parking lot, and slid into his accustomed parking stall. He jumped out and opened her door, beckoning her towards the imposing stairs that led up to the gleaming marble edifice.

She stood, stretched her legs and shook out her wild red mane as she mounted the steps that would soon lead her to the beginning of a new adventure.

He held the door for her as he waved to the bevy of clerks who'd been on duty all night. "I will take you down to see Azuria. Then while you get acquainted with her I will get my station set up so the night crew can go home."

Nodding shyly, she followed him down the stairs to a massive hall. Flanking each side were enormous doorways. He led her through one of them into a large room that smelled of incense and old books. The walls were lined with artifacts and huge bookshelves that were filled with ancient mystical tomes.

He gave her brief instructions on how to get to the registration office then left her to speak with Azuria.

DeLara approached the woman hesitantly. She was thin and dark-skinned and had a very calm air about her. She gave the little demoness a knowing smile.

"Hello, VuDu Dawl," she said, gently. "I sense much goodness in you."

DeLara blinked. "You are a sibyl?"

Azuria nodded. "Some might call me that. I see things that other cannot see."

"My mother is a seer," the tiny redhead told the smiling woman.

Once they'd exchanged their pleasantries and gotten acquainted, Azuria explained what was expected of the young heroine. She was pleased to hear that DeLara had fared well in her battle the night before, and explained that the first order of business was getting the nefarious gang known as the Hellions under control. Giving her a small paper with several detailed instructions and a short briefing printed on it, she sent the little demoness back upstairs to seek her newfound friend.

As DeLara walked in to the registration office, Jody smiled widely. "I see you found your way back," he teased as he slid a long form in triplicate towards her across the counter. "Fill that out, and bring it back to me, then we'll take your picture."


"Yes, for your ID card."

She nodded and tried to read the form. Some of the words were small and easy to understand. She filled in her name, and a few other details. When it came to some of the questions, she had to quietly ask him for his assistance.

"What means 'or-i-gin'?" she asked him, pointing to the box on the form. He laughed softly.

"Magic," he said.

"Magic?" She gave him a quizzical glance.

"Yes, since you said your powers are derived from the fact that your father is demonic, then your powers originate from a magical source."

"Oh, I understand," she nodded and wrote M-a-J-i-k on the line.

He laughed softly under his breath at her spelling but made no move to embarrass her by correcting it.

"And this?" she pointed to a box marked 'Archetype' below the box she'd just filled in.

"You have the power to heal others?"

DeLara nodded. "My feelings of love for others are so strong that my empathic caring can actually focus my internal energy in order to heal others as well if not better than I can heal my own body."

Jody grinned. "That's great. That would classify you as a Defender Archetype - one who is most skilled at defending those around them."

She once again nodded her understanding and wrote 'D-e-F-e-n-D-u-r' in the box.

Suppressing a giggle, he helped her fill out the entire form when he realized she'd skipped the third box. He pointed to the line labeled 'Hero Name or Identity'. She looked at him hesitantly. "Do you think that 'voodoo doll' is a good idea for a hero name?" she asked, hopefully.

 "Of course I do," he said gently, hoping beyond hope that the name would actually prove to be available. To avoid confusion among the hero populace, it was the law that no two heroes were allowed to use exactly the same pseudonym. Even though their real names may be the same, each hero's working identity must be completely unique.

She gripped the pen tightly and printed in large block letters. 'VuDu DawL'. He smiled broadly. He was fairly certain that her improvised spelling of that name was unique enough that no one else would have even considered it.

He motioned her over to a small screen hanging in a corner behind a small machine. He directed her to stand on a small X on the floor and look up at a blinking light on the machine. "Smile," he bade her, as she tried to comply with his directives. A flash of bright white light blinded her for a moment, followed by lots of blinking as her vision adjusted back to the normal light of the room.

Quickly he stamped the form, and ran it through a scanner which executed an OCR program which quickly digitizing all her personal information, and archived it in the hero database. To her surprise, only a few minutes later he walked over to a large whirring, blinking, beeping machine, pressed a button marked 'Finish', and retrieved the still-warm plastic card.

With a warm smile he handed the card to the astonished redhead.

"Thank you," she said. She fished in her décolletage for a small pouch that contained the money that Hiroyuki Sato had insisted upon giving her. "What do I owe you for this?"

Shaking his head, he held up a hand. "Nothing. There is no charge to register as a hero. Have you gotten certified for a security level clearance from Ms. Liberty?"

Dawl nodded with a smile. "I met her the first thing I arrived."

 "Then you are ready to go! You have a mission to complete for Azuria, right?"

"Yes, I do."  "Okay, DeLara, I mean, VuDu Dawl, then let me be the first to officially welcome you to Paragon City as a registered hero," he said as he shook her hand vigorously. Instead of just returning his grip on her hand, she leapt onto the counter and threw her arms around the startled clerk.

"I will never forget your kindness," she said. "Thank you!"

He smiled and blushed. "It was the least I could do. Good luck with your mission, and remember, there is always someone willing to help you here in the City of Heroes."

She returned his smile as she waved goodbye and left the gleaming confines of City Hall to step out into the brilliant sunshine. She knew what she had to do. She now had a mission. The first steps of her journey were well under way, and who knows where this would eventually lead her. All she knew right now was that she had a job to do, and she was determined to give it her level best.