Professor Nimrod Beauregard Pennyroyal is a middle-aged explorer and author of infamous adventure books which purportedly retell his travels across the world. Pennyroyal first appears in Predator's Gold, then a recurring character in Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain.
Early life Edit
Pennyroyal was born in Brighton, a raft city, on September 22nd, 957 TE. His father was unknown. After being expelled from several schools he started working in the theatre before setting out into the world as an adventurer and "alternative historian".
Purportedly travelling all over the world, including the Dead Continent, Pennyroyal made a fortune writing tens of books outlining his supposed adventures and discoveries. Their authenticity was somewhat suspect, with the Guild of Historians in London having criticised Pennyroyal's work for focusing more on the adventure and romance than the history; though his books remained bestsellers, pleasing his eager publishers Fewmet and Spraint.
In actuality, most of what Pennyroyal claimed to have done is fabricated and is just written for money and fame, making him a fraud. Despite this, he has some grains of historical authentication, for instance when Tom says Pennyroyal believed "the Ancients had machines called 'eye-pods' where they could store thousands of songs on tiny little gramophone records.
Predator's Gold Edit
Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw encounter a travelling Pennyroyal on Airhaven, where he asks to be a passenger on their ship the Jenny Haniver to transport him back to Brighton where he intends to write another book on his adventures: "Fire Mountains - Natural Phenomenon or Ancient Blunder?". Hester takes an immediate disliking toward him, whilst Tom recalls hearing about Pennyroyal on London. Pennyroyal offers them ten sovereigns, and despite Hester's reluctance, the pair decide to take him as a passenger. The travelling professor is revealed to have overstayed his welcome at Airhaven, specifically at the rooms of Widgery Blinkoe, who is furious that Pennyroyal didn't pay his dues.
En route, Pennyroyal tells Tom of his discoveries and adventures in America, who is amazed at them. Soon enough, the three run into a Green Storm patrol in search of the Jenny Haniver; which Pennyroyal reacts to with extreme fear. As they attempt to escape, Pennyroyal remains afraid of being killed, going so far as to demand a refund once he discovers that the ship belonged to Anna Fang, whom the Green Storm worship. After the chase, the Jenny's engines are damaged and the airship floats helplessly over the Ice Wastes, with Pennyroyal knocked out from a gash on his head.
The airship is found by Anchorage, where Pennyroyal is carried on a stretcher to receive help for his wound. Freya Rasmussen, the leader of the ice city, comments on how Pennyroyal looks so different to his pictures on his books; to which he blusters that the painter who illustrated it was a "fool". Freya enlists Pennyroyal to help guide Anchorage to the Dead Continent, appointing him as "Honorary Chief Navigator". Pennyroyal promptly faints.
Pennyroyal soon recovers from his injuries, and is stationed in the Wheelhouse for his position. Whilst "navigating" to the Dead Continent, Pennyroyal starts drinking excessively, acting rashly and becoming withdrawn from his appointed task, as well as other people. When Hester leaves with the repaired Jenny Haniver, Pennyroyal begins to panic; as his only way off the city has flown off.
When Tom encounters Pennyroyal again, the author allows him to come into his quarters, which has become seriously messy with empty wine bottles and strewn-about papers. Tom asks Pennyroyal about possible scavengers on Anchorage, and eventually calls Pennyroyal a liar. Pennyroyal retorts, saying that he has sold hundreds of thousands of books and has received rave reviews, but Tom ignores him.
Pennyroyal, at the end of his tether, attempts to radio signal for transportation off the city, but Freya catches him. After a brief interrogation, Pennyroyal miserably confesses that he never went to the Dead Continent, writing his book about it in the laps of luxury in Paris. Freya subsequently dismisses Pennyroyal, though it doesn't make her feel any better, as the only "navigator" to the Dead Continent is a fraud.
Unfortunately, Pennyroyal's signals for help attracted the Huntsmen of Arkangel, who capture the city. Pennyroyal luckily escapes, remarking the old Pennyroyal family motto: ‘When the Going Gets Tough, the Sensible Conceal Themselves Beneath Large Items of Furniture.' He is found by the returning Tom and Hester, who wants to rescue the captured Anchorage residents, though Pennyroyal starkly refuses. Hester threatens his life with a knife to help them.
After rescuing the residents and splitting up with Tom, Hester reveals to Pennyroyal that it was her, not him, that led the Huntsmen to Arkangel, in exchange for Tom's safe return. Hester uses Pennyroyal as a decoy to distract several Huntsmen before she kills them. As Hester is distracted, Pennyroyal slips away, stealing money from a local shop. Tom follows him, tracking him to the Jenny Haniver, which Pennyroyal intends to use to escape.
Tom attempts to convince Pennyroyal to stay, as Hester has helped secure the residents and kill the Huntsmen, but Pennyroyal refuses, claiming that she's "insane" (not telling him about what she did). As Tom attempts to drag Pennyroyal away, the author accidentally shoots him in the chest with a Huntsman pistol, claiming that he just wanted to scare Tom away with it. Pennyroyal takes the keys for the airship and flies off.
Pennyroyal takes the Jenny Haniver east and has the airship renamed and repainted as the Arctic Roll, arriving in Brighton a few weeks later, regaling his friends the tale of his adventures in the frozen north. Pennyroyal writes a new book, entitled Predator's Gold, which twists and changes many events of the book. The story makes him the hero, Hester the tragic villain, explaining that Anchorage sank into the ocean and exposing the Lost Boys. Some years after, Pennyroyal becomes the new Mayor of Brighton, after marrying a woman named Boo Boo Heckmondwyke, which allowed him the high-society connections to get himself elected. Some time after, Pennyroyal has an exhibition of his adventures in Brighton, becoming a popular tourist attraction, with the aged Jenny Haniver on display.
Infernal Devices Edit
At an age of sixty-five, Pennyroyal's rule over Brighton has made it prosperous over twelve years, especially with it's lucrative slave trade, contracted with the Shkin Corporation, owned by Nabisco Shkin. Using his twisted version of Predator's Gold, Pennyroyal has captured many of the Lost Boys with the faux-charity WOPCART (World Organization for Parents of Children Abducted from Raft Towns) luring them to Brighton to be captured as slaves, by going north into the Atlantic to find more limpets.
As Wren Natsworthy, the daughter of Tom and Hester, is captured by Brighton, she discovers more about Pennyroyal's fraudulent account of her parents' encounter with him. Tom was omitted from the book, whilst Hester was portrayed as "a titian-haired Amazon of the air whose divine face was marred only by a livid scar where some brigand had drawn his stiletto across the damask flesh of her cheek", who sold the course of Anchorage to Masgard (one of the few elements of the book that is true), but was "killed" by Masgard.
With the low amount of limpets captured, Pennyroyal considers that the Atlantic is safe for decent rafe-cities and orders that Brighton move further south to rendezvous with the Moon Festival, a gathering of traction cities that do not eat each other. Whilst Pennyroyal is lounging in his palace Cloud 9, he is visited by Shkin and a captured Wren. Shkin explains that Wren's background and parents, which Pennyroyal reacts with great fear. When asked, Wren instead tells them that she is not what Shkin says she is, and is from Grimsby. Pennyroyal enthusiastically believes her, and with the Tin Book of Anchorage in his possession, he dismisses Shkin and employs Wren into his household as the maid of Boo-Boo, who he has started to loathe.
Pennyroyal later meets with Walter Plovery, his adviser on Old-Tech, who was tasked by Pennyroyal to look at the Tin Book. Plovery explains that the Book holds a code which can communicate with one of ancient computer brains, specifically that of the American military; which Pennyroyal believes can help acquire a fortune during the occurring war between the Traktionstadtsgesellschaft and the Green Storm. Pennyroyal plans to sell it to one of the traction cities at the Moon Festival; mentioning that an acquaintance of his, Cruwys Morchard (in actuality Clytie Potts) may take an interest in it.
During a dinner party, Pennyroyal's office is broken into, with Plovery under the employ of Shkin attempting to steal the Tin Book. Pennyroyal falsely believes that Wren was attempting to steal it with Plovery, with her scheme to escape on his personal airship the Peewit making her suspect. Boo-Boo unexpectedly defends and acquits her servant.
When the Moon Festival arrived on the shores of Africa, the Green Storm attacked Brighton to find the Tin Book, alerted by Cynthia Twite, a Green Storm spy posing as one of Boo-Boo's servants. Pennyroyal knocked out Twite when she cornered Wren and Theo, his intentions to escape with a briefcase full of money and abandon his citizens so he can write another fraudulent book about the battle. Finding Shkin in the cockpit of the Peewit, Pennyroyal hoped that he would take him aboard, but Shkin shot him twice.
Pennyroyal survived, as the Tin Book which he hid inside his robes helped to stop the bullet hitting him whilst another bullet grazed his head, and followed Wren and Theo Ngoni to find a way off of Cloud 9. Wren reveals to him that she is indeed the daughter of Tom and Hester, and thus knows of Pennyroyal's past; which makes him faint. When Pennyroyal wakes up, he reveals to Wren about Hester's betrayal of Anchorage to Masgard that it was true after she tells him that his book was full of lies, and that he ran into a refugee from Arkangel who witnessed the deal being made. Wren firmly doesn't believe him.
Going in and out of consciousness from his wounds, Pennyroyal eventually encounters Hester - much to his fear - who attempts to kill him so that her betrayal isn't revealed to Tom. Wren attempts to intervene, but Hester pushes her away; whilst Tom and Theo arrive. Whilst Tom considers killing Pennyroyal as revenge for shooting him and leaving him to die, he decides that Cloud 9's sinking and his age accounts for revenge. Pennyroyal witnesses Wren explaining to Tom about Hester's betrayal, which prompts Hester to run away in despair.
Pennyroyal joins Tom, Wren and Theo on the Jenny Haniver, escaping Cloud 9.
Physical Appearance Edit
In Predator's Gold, Pennyroyal is first described as being smallish, balding and slightly overweight, with a trim white beard. His clothes were the typical outfit of a northern scavenger: a long fur coat, a tunic with many pockets, thick breeches and fur-lined boots; notable as they looked too expensive for a northern scavenger.
Pennyroyal is overtly-confident, ambitious and self-indulgent in less-than circumstantial situations, retaining a proud and egotistical view of himself. His lust for fame and fortune often leads himself into trouble, debts and threats against his life. Pennyroyal is nothing if not a coward, doing anything if it serves himself
- Tom Natsworthy
- Hester Shaw
- Wren Natsworthy
- Boo-Boo Pennyroyal
- Freya Rasmussen
- Widgery Blinkoe
- Thaddeus Valentine - Pennyroyal seems to intensely dislike Valentine, due to his rejection to join the Guild of Historians, as the Head didn't like his supposed findings in America. Pennroyal describes the Guild as "dusty old farts".