“Hello dear one. Do you know what you wish to be called now?” Maddox asked the same question every day, and when he shook his head she just smiled and called him something endearing in French. He had not been taken to see the Elders, but he was looking forward to the moment and was hopeful.
Today was the same as the others, Dr. Maddox had requested to meet him for lunch at the Cocoa Java and he arrived to find her sitting in front of the fire. There was slush on the ground from those that had come inside out of the snow already. The lack of doors allowed the cold wind inside, but the fire in the center allowed enough warmth for comfort.
The doctor’s cocoa was still steaming as she took a small sip and welcomed him, beckoning that he join her. She repeated her question hoping to be able to call him by his new name finally, and smiled encouragingly and tossed her hair as if it was nothing when he informed her he did not. The cat sighed every time this happened, discouraged. He’d have been awake for a month tomorrow and in all of that time he’d had several breakthroughs, memories returning in a torrent, but he did not know what his name should be, his eye showed no sign it would turn back, and he still had trouble with anything beyond basic addition and subtratcion.
The doctor asked him about his friends, his time at the Gangplank, and everything that he remembered or had done. He told her everything as he could remember it, and with slightly more confidence than he’d had previously in the past few weeks. It was an enjoyable conversation, but while they spoke today Maddox sat upright in her chair. “Your true name!”
Arnold jumped in his seat, and gripped the couch in the Cocoa java tearing into it with his claws and exposing the white fluff beneath it. He winced as his own movements caused his head to protest. Though he had taken to walking on all fours again he knew he shouldn’t have.
“I just remembered something,” Maddox said apologetically, as she moved towards his own couch and tried rubbing the other side of his head gently. She began to speak to him in a whisper, “One of the very first lessons I received after you…brought out the best side of me.” She grinned as she looked at the fire across from them. Its yellow flames danced to the sound of cracking wood, giving life and shadows to the Cocoa Java, contrasting the snow and dark clouds outside. “Your true name…”
“True name?” He asked curiosly as he looked at his friend expectantly. “What’s that?”
“A true name is who you really are,” Maddox explained softly as she continued to caress his head motherly. “Helio and Kris once told me that discovering one’s true name is something of a spiritual journey, and it is something that only you can know. It is that important and special, and even dangerous. If a person knew your true name they could make you do anything.” Her face grinned mischievously, happily, “You aren’t supposed to share it with anyone, not ta mère, ton frère, or ton femme; but I know mon coeur’s name. He trusted me that much.”
Arnold laid down against the couch and closed his eyes until they were barely open enough to watch the spitting fire breath warmth into the room. Could it be that what he wanted wasn’t a face name, but a true name? Perhaps the Elders could help him along his journey either way.