"Penny" Carlyle - Angel of Las Vegas


C.J. Tremlett


Penny would never have said being perfect sucks. When she was alive.

Penny would never have said being good was boring. When she was alive.

Penny would never have said anything bad about anyone. When she was alive.

But Penny isn't alive anymore.



She was born in 1976. Such a good baby. Nothing like her sister. Her sister was trouble from day one. On the day of her birth, her sister Kathy, age two and a half, got into a bottle of pills their mother accidentally left in reach when she went into labor. Their aunt got Kathy to the hospital, and got her stomach pumped and all was well. The family was greatly relieved.

Oh, and the baby was fine, too.

Penny was five when her brother was born. Andy was a late pregnancy, and a complicated one. The family was thrilled to have a boy. Except Kathy, who threw a tantrum and locked their aunt out of the house. The police had to come help open the house. The baby was fine, thank god. Their parents stayed at the hospital to make sure. Their aunt was fine, too, and Kathy was severely punished.

They didn't remember Penny hadn't had dinner that night until the next day.

As the children grew, the pattern was clear. Kathy was trouble. Fighting when she was young, drugs and sex way early in life, always a worry. Andy grew up a charming, good looking, athletic kid. The center of attention anywhere he was. Penny was quiet. Penny behaved. A solid B student. No problems anywhere. Went to church every Sunday. Never got sick, never missed much school. Did her chores, kept her room clean. Never asked for more toys or more money or more anything. Even junk food, though she ate it when it was there.

At fifteen, Penny was just a bit overweight. Kathy was seventeen, in between rehabs, and generally cranky. She started calling Penny fat. Not once, but over and over. For six months, until she ran away again, she'd tease Penny anytime she saw her eat.

Quietly, at sixteen, Penny went on a diet. It started small. Cutting out candy and chips. But the weight didn't seem to come off. So meals got smaller, anything considered fatty was gone, and exercises started. Not just a few. Laps and laps around a track at the gym to which the family belonged. Situps anytime she was alone. The scale said the weight was coming off, but in the mirror, Penny still looked fat.

Six months in, her mother commented that she looked nice because of the weight she'd lost. By then, Penny didn't believe it. In the mirror, she saw a fat girl.

Within a year, Penny, at five five, had gone from a slightly pudgy 140 pounds to 98. Occasionally, her parents might say she should eat more, but neither of them spent much time at it. There were all of Andy's sporting events to go to, and there was so much time spent looking for Kathy, or getting Kathy to rehab, or dealing with police about Kathy, or dealing with the pregnancy Kathy came home with during Penny's senior year in high school.

And then there was a grandchild in the house, while Kathy kept going out partying. Penny was a good babysitter. So nice to have her around to do this, so we can go watch Andy, or worry about Kathy.

At graduation, Penny's party was interrupted by a gang of Kathy's friends, in various states of inebriation. Andy's friends helped kick them out, in the end. Penny went to her room and did situps. At that time she weighed 75 pounds. Sometimes her family would comment that she looked too thin and should eat more. But there was always so much to worry about, and wasn't it nice no one had to worry about Penny?

The family lived in Spring Valley, a nice suburb of Las Vegas. Penny went to UNLV for college, as expected. She got a dormroom, and a roommate who was much more popular and interesting. She came home weekends, and some nights to take care of her little niece, Jessica. Her roommate moved out after a few weeks, complaining about Penny's situps.

That first year, things went as they always had. Penny came home, took care of Jessica, did her school work, made no problems. During the summer, she babysat full time, taking in more than just her niece. Some of the mothers commented on how thin Penny was.

The next year, she got an RA who cared. A funky hippy type named Cinnamon, she knew anorexia when she saw it. Even in the midst of floor problems, and her own work, Cinnamon tried to reach Penny. It was the first time in her entire life anyone had worried about Penny. It was, ultimately, too little, too late.



On a windy night in October, 1995, Penny was alternating homework and situps. She'd been lightheaded and weak, but that had become normal. So was pain. The buzzing in her ears, the pain in her chest were not so normal. One more sit up. One more. She felt the pain in her chest like a stab wound, and knew she was dying. So unfair. finally after nineteen years, Penny got mad. It was so fucking unfair that she was dying at nineteen. She'd always done everything right and no one had cared.

Cinnamon found her body 36 hours later, when she didn't hear or see her after more than a day. She had been anorexic for three years, and her parents hadn't known. At the autopsy, which diagnosed death by a massive heart attack, she weighed only 63 pounds. Her family was horrified. All the things they missed hit them like a ton of bricks. Way too late.

Penny was dead.

And death found the other side of the shiny copper coin.



As Penny was dying, in the room, there were three wraiths, waiting. Two were fighting. The Reaper from the Skeletal Legion was there to claim her as a victim of starvation. The Reaper from the Silent Legion was there to claim her as a suicide, since the starvation was by her own choosing, and she showed signs of despair. The argument got heated, to the point of combat. Meanwhile, a Reaper allegedly from the Penitent Legion was there, mainly to stir up trouble, and for laughs.

At the moment Penny's heart gave out, the Skeletal and the Silent were in the midst of actual combat over who should claim Penny. The "Penitent" seized the opportunity, grabbed the new wraith in her Caul, and took a dive out of there before the other two noticed.

The man who Reaped Penny often pretended to be a Penitent, but he was not. He was a Guildwraith, and a Haunter, a Bedlameer, to be precise. He thought, given her anger at the world, she might make a fair addition to the Guild.

She was set up with an apprenticeship within the Guild, and learned fast. The girl who had always done her best to be good but not too good in life, went all out and learned fast. And found she enjoyed both what she was learning, and the feelings of success.

At first, she did not want to actually hurt the living. And never kill. Just scare them, or drive them mad. But between her nagging Shadow that inevitably hit on desires repressed all her life, and the coaxing of her mentor/friend, the Bedlameer, her tricks on skinbags got less and less benign, and more and more harmful.

In due course, she became a Journeyman, and began being recognized by the Guild for her way of finding the things that scare people the most, and damage them deepest. Her favorite targets, other than her family, are the religious, the popular, the ones who make a show of being good, or moral, or superior in other ways. Her methods with the religious are often devastating. She appears as an angel, and whispers things that twist their worlds.

Penny's work has driven her sister into fanatical born-againism. Her family debates as to rather or not it is Kathy's guilt that makes her claim to see Penny as an angel, or rather she's truly having a religious experience. She certainly feels the guilt. Mainly because Penny, as the "angel" keeps reminding her of all her little cruelties to her younger sister.

She has expanded well beyond the family, though. For the last few months, she's targeted a priest. He was a bit edgy to begin with, having great pride in himself, and being consistently in denial about fantasies he had. Now he's falling fast, confused and struggling to hang onto something like sanity. Penny as the angel tells him that god is dead, and he's a candidate for god's replacement. While the priest has struggled with the notion that this is a demon in disguise, all his efforts at exorcism have failed, and meanwhile, those sweet, seductive words have fed his ego and kept him off balance. He still isn't quite sure he believes, but it is getting closer all the time.

Penny has not officially joined an Alliance. A few have approached her, others consider her. She herself is not sure, and wants to wait a while to decide. The two that have the most interest are the Mandelbrots and the Bedlameers. She tends to favor the Bedlameers, given that her mentor is one.

Name: Penelope "Penny" Faith Carlyle
Nature: Rogue
Demeanor: Bon Vivant
Shadow: The Victim
Life: Student
Death: Anorexia Nervosa
Regret: Having always lived for other people and not herself

STR: 1 DEX: 3 STA: 2

CHA: 4 MAN: 4 APP: 2

PER: 3 INT: 3 WIT: 2

Talents: Alertness 1, Athletics 1, Dodge 1, Empathy 2, Expression 3, Intimidation 3, Subterfuge 2

Skills: Leadership 2, Performance 2, Storytelling 2

Knowledges: Area Knowledge (Las Vegas) 2, Bureaucracy 1, Computer 1, Investigation 1, Linguistics 1, Lore: Guilds 1, Lore: Haunters 2, Lore: Wraith 2, Theology 2, Politics 1, Psychology 1

Backgrounds: Eidolon 1, Memoriam 2, Mentor 1, Relic (Robe) 1, Relic (Sack of pennies) 2, Status: Haunters 2

Arcanoi: Argos 2, Embody 2, Moliate 1, Pandemonium 3

Willpower: 7

Corpus: 10

Pathos: 7

Passions: Do what I think is fun (Sick Amusement) 4, Fuck with sanctimonious people (Desire for Revenge) 3. Learn what makes people fall apart (Joy) 2, Look after the niece (Obligation) 1

Fetters: Immediate Family (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother) 5, Niece 3. Cinnamon 2

Merits: Phobia Insight +1, Reputation +2

Flaws: Fragile Corpus -3, Embittered Shadow -4

Haunter Quirk: The Spatial Distortion Quirk is manifesting, gradually becoming more prominent. In time, it will grow worse. Some time in the not-so-distant future, she will develop the Aggravated Quirk Flaw.

Shadow: The Victim

Permanent Angst: 3

Dark Passions: Kill Family (Rage) 4, Keep Penny feeling worthless (Self Pity) 2, Make Spectres (Misery) 1

Thorns: Freudian Slip 5, Spectre Prestige 1, Tainted Relic (a penny) 1, Trick of the Light 3