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By Arlesienne   |   Watch
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Mature  |  Published: December 24, 2016
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© 2016 - 2020 Arlesienne
There isn't much lore on my favourite vanilla character of Don't Starve (Together). Yes, it's Willow, Willow the crazy, Willow the griefer, Willow the pyromaniac. To me, she's none of the above. There isn't much dealing with her hidden depths, sadly (I checked AO3 and got irreparably scarred by Maxwell-Wilson smut). This aims at rectifying the issue. Should have enough room for expansion as time allows.
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Skyflower51's avatar
Skyflower51Hobbyist WriterFeatured
Time for me to learn about a new fandom! :D 
I did a little research on the universe before reading this; despite my having only a little bit of knowledge, I found this story absolutely fascinating. I'm always intrigued by stories that take a look at the hidden depths of characters who seem violent and insane, especially when those hidden depths aren't readily apparent in the source material. But very few people get to be that way without reasons, and this was an absolutely brilliant way to explore those reasons. The way you dropped hints about Willow's past in her scribbled-out sentences was far more subtle and clever than having her openly talk about it.
And then there's the fact that some of the things she crossed out are heartbreaking. 'I never heard stuff like this before and it's the best thing that's ever been mine.' What a way to tell us how she's lonely, unused to any kind of warmth, that this simple kind of affection is unknown to her... and she crossed it out. Because she sees it as weakness? Because she won't reveal something so private? Because she's ashamed of herself? Yes, definitely heartbreaking.
I love, as ever, your beautifully poetic writing style. 'The blue of its beginning and the black of its end.' That sentence brought a smile to my face with just how lovely it sounds in my head - rhythmic and musical. That whole passage talking about her fascination with the fire was wonderful - intriguing how characters who seem a little insane are often those with the most intense and poetic thoughts. I loved, too, her playing with words, remarking on which ones she thought sounded best; any character who has an interest in words is going to appeal to me.
In short - a really, really fascinating and beautiful work. I'll be sure to read more soon. :)
Arlesienne's avatar
You have no idea what it means to have somebody of your format approach a new and rather ascetic fandom. The deal with Don't Starve is how little strict lore there is: you have William Carter struggling as a British immigrant in the States of the beginning of the 20th century, the train crash in the middle of Nevada leading to his miraculous comeback with the eerie Codex Umbra as the Amazing Maxwell, and then the sudden fall from grace pulling more than just him right into the world of THEIRS, a parasitic pu on the surface of the multiverse. We know a bit about him, about Wilson Percival Higgsbury, and... That's pretty much it.

An island of uncompromising wilderness where your mind is the most fragile commodity and darkness literally kills. A blank canvas. For a writer deeply concerned about expanding the canonical world rather than razing it to the ground under the same name, it's equally precarious and enticing.

Me in DS and DST is owed solely to CSupernova and @iznozfox. Like with Dragon Age, I was introduced to the fandom. A beautiful gift, don't you think? I started out playing Willow and it was a match made in heaven from the word go in spite of her being a weaker character: with lower stats, serious disadvantages and somewhat negligible perks. She clicked with me, because on top of her snarky personality, she holds so much mystery.

I had little in terms of lore when writing "Ardiente". The devs stated she's in her early twenties; her pyromania is a given. There exists one concept art of her as an orphan. Here, the links end.

It was a difficult thing to write for me. I dislike first person narrative, I dislike diaries as a genre, lastly, I don't quite feel confident about my laughable skill in the matter. But there was a challenge on the Klei forums and seeing no love for Willow on AO3 (indeed, she was severely nerfed after many players had used her to grief by burning bases down due to her starting lighter, causing people to dub her a tool of griefing in spite of how easy it is to craft a torch), I decided to give it a try.

I didn't enjoy the research I did when it comes to early social care in the States. It was all but nonexistent. Learning about pyromania came easier, although it frequently developing in the void where familial warmth ought to be cannot - mustn't - downplayed. I am delighted to hear you enjoyed her approach to fire; I wanted to highlight her uniqueness in this regard. The pigmen and all their quotes are actual footages of the game: you befriend them for meat and they can help you, as bodyguards, loggers (swing an axe a couple of times during the day and they should start chopping), friends (stay close near one to get a whopping 25 sanity a minute; this is a massive sanity aura, and the more piggies you get to sleep by your campfire, the more it stacks). Willow's quotes show a lot of loneliness, they're very sad under the snarkiness, and I wanted to draw upon that.

In a way, crossing out served a dual purpose. On one hand, it let me draw attention to the difficult parts (and we haven't even got to how she lost her job after leaving the orphanage, right before being taken to the asylum again). On the other, it made me feel less stupid writing it; neither Willow nor yours truly would just bawl out her heart to anyone.