William "Penny" Adiyodi is a Traveler and former Brakebills University student who works for the Library of the Neitherlands. Raised in Florida, William was unable to control his Psychic abilities until he received training and guidance from a voice from another world, who taught him how to control his magic. After passing the Brakebills Entrance Exam, Penny was coerced into helping Quentin Coldwater and Alice Quinn attempt to summon Alice's dead brother, but the ritual opened the barriers around Brakebills enough for The Beast to attack the school in search for Quentin. After realizing that the Beast and the voice that helped him were one in the same, Penny attempted to leave Brakebills but was convinced to stay by Kady Orloff-Diaz.
In the weeks that followed, Penny learned that he was a Traveler, a rare type of magician with the ability to travel to other worlds. While the revelation initially scared Penny, he learned to embrace his abilities under the tutelage of Professor Mischa Mayakovsky during his time at Brakebills South. Unbeknownst to him, Kady was expelled during their time there, and left him alone, much to his dismay. After returning to Brakebills, Penny was attacked by Mike McCormick, under the possession of the Beast, in a failed attempt to assassinate Quentin Coldwater. When the Beast began to target Travelers, Penny learned that he was torturing Victoria Gradley, a member of Brakebills missing Third-year class, in Fillory. Penny then agreed to help Quentin and his friends travel to Fillory only if they rescued Victoria.
After obtaining a magical button that would allow the entire group to travel to Fillory, Penny accidentally wound up in the Neitherlands. There, he met Zelda Schiff, the Head Librarian of the Library of the Neitherlands, who gave Penny information needed to kill the Beast from Martin Chatwin's Life Book. Before returning to Earth, Penny battled with the locals of the Neitherlands before Alice and Quentin used a ritual to help him return. When the group finally journeyed to Fillory, Penny helped guide them through the fountains until Josh Hoberman found them and joined their quest. When Eliot Waugh compromised their plan, Penny and the others resorted to using Battle Magic to fight their way to the Fillory fountain. When Eve, the leader of the mercenaries, attempted to stop them, Penny killed her.
Growing Up in Florida
William Adiyodi was born no later than 1993, and was raised in Florida. In high school, as his magic began to develop, he developed a dependence on alcohol and drugs in an effort to drown out the voices he was starting to hear from people's thoughts, as well as voices from other worlds. One voice in particular came through clearer than others, and Penny came to befriend it as it guided Penny through honing his abilities and teaching him about magic.
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Brakebills' Observation Notes
- "Penny, in the colloquial, is an asshole. He actively refuses offers of friendship and punishes his peers for any attempt to connect with him. But this attitude is the product of a lifetime of emotional neglect, for which he cannot be blamed. If we're being optimistic, we can hope that, pending admission, Penny will slowly warm to the sense of community fostered among his class. But if we're being realistic, we can assume that this will not be the case and his aggression will impact the more sensitive students (among the prospective, Quentin Coldwater stands out as a prime example).
But Penny possesses such a high level of magical talent that we are willing to overlook whatever disruption he might bring to the class. While his particular talents have yet to be identified, the volume of magical ability that he possesses is impossible to ignore. Which has also been his problem – he has this immense level of magical ability, but he believes it to be a psychiatric ailment, for which he has been driven to dangerous self-medicating. Without the training to harness and control his abilities, William has been tortured by them. Upon admission to Brakebills, we could help him to deal with these gifts."
- —Brakebills Observation Notes[src]
Magic and Abilities
Magician: William Adiyodi is a very gifted and skilled magician, showing success in performing complex battle magic spells and nearly mastering Traveling. As a Psychic, Penny is able to passively hear the thoughts of others, a trait that seems to be enhanced by his Traveler discipline. He's been shown to be very knowledgeable about practical magic, utilizing an Emmerson's Alloy Repellant, a potent work of defensive magic, in order to stave off the voices he was hearing. As a neophyte of a Traveler, Penny has shown great proficiency in his aim under the tutelage of Professor Mayakovsky, who pushed Penny into the early stages of interdimensional travel while studying at Brakebills South. After his hands were removed by The Beast, Penny began studying alternative forms of casting that didn't require magic, leading him to become a practitioner of "sphinkter magic".
- Psychic: Penny is able to listen and communicate with the mind of others. While initially disturbed by the prospect of being a "freak", Penny has become an accomplished Psychic, able to tune out the ambient voices around him through disciplined meditation and tutelage from Professor Mayakovsky. Originally utilizing a Psychic Patch placed at the base of his neck to block the telepathic onslaught of The Beast, Penny later removed it in order to learn to control his abilities, though he's unable to enter the minds of those with powerful wards, such as Kady.
- Dream Manipulation: Penny has displayed the ability to interact with the dreams of others and communicate through them. He was able to enter Quentin's mind even though he was under the effects of the Scarlotti's Web hex, as well as enter Margo's dream on one occasion. He can project himself to a specific person's dreams even from another dimension, such as when he communicated with Quentin in his dreams from the Neitherlands.
- Battle Magic: Due to the looming threat of The Beast, Penny, Quentin, and the rest of the Physical Kids taught themselves rudimentary Battle Magic with some guidance from Kady. A testament to his prowess was his success in performing battle magic without having to remove his emotions along with Alice Quinn, unlike the rest of his peers.
- Traveling: As a Traveler, Penny is able to traverse instantly between locations freely without needing to resort to mediums, such as the Magical buttons, or through the application of portals. As revealed by Dean Fogg, this ability was exceedingly unique, with Fogg stating that Brakebills never had more than one Traveler at a time. Penny was at first fearful of this ability and tattooed an Anchoring Sigil onto himself to keep his body tethered to Earth, causing him resort to his ability to Astral Project. But he was promoted by Mayakovsky to travel without restraint, allowing him to become skillful with the ability. He's been shown to be able to travel to different locations on Earth instantaneously, as well as move between different and distant worlds such as Fillory, and The Neitherlands. His precision and proficiency allow him to enter heavily warded areas, such as Brakebills, an anti-Traveler warded bank vault, and Marina's apartment without hindrance. Notably, he was able to quickly travel from Fillory, appear in Marina's apartment, seize Julia and The Beast, and travel back to Fillory before the latter two could even react, all in mere seconds. When his hands were damaged by The Beast, this ability was unstable, along with the rest of his magic, causing him to Travel sporadically. However, despite all of his accomplishments, Penny never could learn to Travel with others with him until Victoria revealed a Traveler spell that allowed him to Travel with people.
- Astral Projection: In addition to Traveling corporally, Penny could separate his mind from his physical form, sending his consciousness out into the universe instead. He's used this a number of occasions throughout his time at Brakebills, as advised by Angry Barfly. During one of his Astral trips, he mistakenly landed in Fillory, appearing in a dungeon after hearing Victoria's calls for help, quickly leaving after understanding The Beast could see him. Most notably, he was able to use this technique to cheat during a series of Trials imposed by the Physical Kids' upperclassmen, Eliot and Margo.
- Gifted Intellect: Penny is able to grasp the full comprehension of magical theory as taught at Brakebills, even though he's shown a general lack of interest in its theoretical studies. As is the standard for all Magicians, Penny possesses at least an Above Average level of intelligence that enables him to utilize the concept of magic and apply it in the physical world. He's studied upon and learned from the works of Kaminsky, Umar, and Aurora - all of whom have published work specifically related to Travelers, as other Magicians who haven't studied upon the discipline have never even heard of them.
- Multilingual: Penny, as well as every other Magician, is able to speak and read in a multitude of languages, as it is a basic requirement for spell casting.
- William Adiyodi's Prosthetic Hands: After The Beast removed his hands, Penny later acquired a pair of glowing, golden hands made of magic that return his ability to cast. These hands are also stronger than his normal ones.
- The Button: After retrieving the Button from George's body beneath the Plover Residence, Penny accidentally used it to travel to the Neitherlands.
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