In the centuries since Maxwell was dragged into The Constant, he's begged his tormentors four times.
As his pleas fall on uncaring ears, he resorts to increasingly desperate measures in his quest to escape his prison.
This fanfiction contains spoilers for the end of Don't Starve's adventure mode. It also includes mentions of death and suicidal desires.
Click the "read more" link to see the story.
The first was the night they took Charlie.
When they first pulled us into this miserable world, I thought we would at least be able to take comfort in each other’s company. Charlie was angry with me – understandably so – for ruining her life through my reckless hubris, but I knew she’d forgive me eventually.
I was ready to do whatever it took to earn that forgiveness, though I knew I would never truly deserve it. After dragging her into this mess, the least I could do was everything I could to keep her alive and to give her as good a life as we could create in this wretched, uncultured wilderness.
But I don’t think our captors like it when we have hope. The more our minds deteriorate, the further we slide into their world, and I suspect that’s exactly where they want us.
So they took Charlie there by force, and made her one of them.
If only I’d known what I know now. I would never have let the fire go out. Wouldn’t have left her vulnerable to the monstrous hands that closed around her, dragging her away from me as we screamed and clung to each other.
But their limbs were far stronger than ours, fingers invisible in the absolute blackness, snaking around our desperate hands and prying them away from each other’s arms. They wrenched her away from me, and as her terrified shrieks went hoarse with pain, I tried to fumble for a torch.
They wouldn’t allow it. My arms were bound to my sides, a horrible preview of what was to come, and I could only listen and call her in vain as her wailing turned to choking, then went silent.
Why they chose her, I don’t know. I was the one who had the book, the one who trespassed in their domain.
Maybe that was why. Perhaps it amused them to leave my will intact, to let me wallow in my guilt as they punished my innocent assistant for my mistakes.
When they finally released me, leaving me alone and trembling in the darkness, I’m sure they must have been silently laughing at the foolishness and shock that kept my hands from lighting a torch.
When a hissing snarl tore through the air, I thought they were coming for me next. In my horror, grief and guilt, I almost welcomed the thought.
If only I hadn’t been wearing that grass suit. If only the pain of her claws tearing into my chest hadn’t galvanized me into action, sending my shaking hands groping for a torch so I could see what was attacking me.
If only I’d let her finish me off before the light drove her away, letting me have a final glimpse of her twisted, deformed face before she fled my sight forever.
I would’ve been so much better off. So would every person whose life I’ve touched since then.
But to everyone’s misfortune, I would live to beg them three more times.
Just dust, and the Void, and them.
I thought I had come prepared. The grueling worlds that led to that room had tested the limits of my skill, and I had brought enough rations to last me a few days. I even managed to make a few crock pots to extend my food supply, and a teleportation device that I foolishly hoped would remove me when I was ready to leave.
With all that in place, I told myself I would have enough time to convince them to restore Charlie to her former self. Maybe I could even get them to let us leave.
Time. Heh. There was one thing I’d have more than enough of. Not that it mattered, in the end.
I was a fool. I dared to hope. I thought if I reasoned, bargained or begged, eventually I’d find the combination of words that would persuade them to let her go.
But no matter how clever you think you are, you cannot bargain with someone who won’t reveal what they want. And these creatures just watch you. Unless you get too close.
I guess I got too close.
After several days, as my food supplies ran low, the shadows began to coalesce. They twisted and solidified, until they formed the rough and thorny chair I still sit on today.
I knew it wasn’t a good idea. But at that point, there were no other ideas left. I’d tried everything else at my disposal; all there was left was to accept their invitation, and find out what would happen next.
The moment the familiar grip of their tendrils closed around my wrists, I knew I’d made a mistake. I should’ve let myself starve.
Instead, I found myself bound to the chair, drowning in memories of darkness, fear, and the screams that had torn at my ears the first time I felt that horrible grasp.
For the first few seconds, those flashbacks roared with such overwhelming force that nothing else could touch my mind.
Then the crackling of the torches around me began to filter in, the whispering flames slowly pushing my friend’s cries aside with their simple, wordless message:
Charlie isn’t coming for you. We won’t give her back, and as long as these cursed fires burn, she will never come.
No one will get you out of this. Not even through death.
For weeks, I fought to keep my sense of self, staring at hands that refused to age and clinging to them like a lifeline.
Those once flawless, manicured fingers were marred by dirt and callouses, but they were still mine. The nails, frozen in time and unable to grow, were smooth and perfectly shaped, and the skin around them was supple and human.
They reminded me of who I was: a cultured man with scruples and dignity. The prisoner of these demons, maybe, but never one of them.
I guess they thought it was time I learned who they wanted me to be. It seems they don’t like a spirit that’s intact once it has ceased to amuse them.
They didn’t do it all at once. They started with my right hand, those wretched lights illuminating every revolting, unnatural movement as my bones began to lengthen, stretching and tearing the muscles around them and straining the skin to its breaking point.
Agony tore a scream from my throat as fire and nausea drowned my senses, and my dignity was forgotten as I begged for them to stop.
They didn’t, of course. They never do.
They didn’t when they were transforming Charlie.
Heaven forbid that she felt the same kind of pain.
It was only when my hand had been stretched and sharpened into a mocking likeness of them that they finally relented, leaving me gasping and shuddering as my body tried to empty a stomach that hadn’t been filled in weeks.
I knew they wouldn’t settle for one. They were letting the pain and shock of the first deformity, combined with the dread of what was to come, take its full effect before eclipsing it with fresh anguish.
I told myself I wouldn’t break. If there’s one piece of me that I thought I could keep intact, it was my pride.
That, and what was left of my cultured demeanor. Turning my deformed hand palm-up, I asked if they could free it long enough for me to use my handkerchief to wipe the tears, snot, saliva and stomach acid off my face and suit.
Damp is not dapper, after all.
The shadows coiled tighter around my other hand, twisting barbs preparing to inject their nightmarish fuel, and they allowed me just enough time to say “I didn’t think so” before the agony resumed.
This time, I asked for one final act of cruelty: one which, compared to their other actions, would seem like mercy to me.
I asked them to kill me. And this time, please, don’t bring me back.
The words felt costly and humiliating, like a king paying his last pennies for a meal of garbage. And yet, I said them, despite already knowing they would not be heeded. My captors have never spoken to me before, nor showed signs of heeding me when I spoke.
They’re smart enough to make that cursed book, so I know they aren’t stupid animals, but that doesn’t mean they’ll deal with me as equals.
If anything, humans are animals to them. Pets – or, even worse, toys, to be played with and worn down until we cease to entertain them.
I knew they wouldn’t listen. And yet, I begged.
My body aches from staying in one position so long, and I don’t know which is worse – the days when I can feel my legs, which they twisted so viciously that my feet now point toward each other, or the days when I can’t.
I haven’t eaten or drank in months, maybe years, yet the Nightmare Throne won’t let me die. Every time I expire, I reappear in this seat, hungry yet hale enough to continue entertaining my sadistic audience.
I fear that the sound of those torches might be permanently carved into my mind, occupying more and more space where joy and memory once lived. I’ve forgotten how to build things I invented myself, and I don’t even remember what it’s like to be touched by another human being.
I try to recall the feeling sometimes. To remember Charlie’s gleeful hugs when a show went particularly well, the playful kiss she would brush on my cheek, the hand on my shoulder when she entered a room I was sitting in.
Sometimes, I try to pretend that the bonds on my wrists are her hands, but I can’t get the illusion to take hold. Charlie’s skin was never so rough.
Well… maybe it is now. Just like my own grotesquely clawed hands, which remind me every day that a part of my tormentors is inside me now, and that they can turn me into anything and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.
Even if they let me go, I doubt I could ever return to my life. Not now that my body is an echo of their evil, and Charlie’s is even worse.
That’s my fault. I deserve this fate. And yet, I begged them to release me from it, in the only way I thought they might be cruel enough to accept.
They didn’t, of course. These overgrown children want a toy, and I’m the only being stupid enough to dabble in their realm and leave myself and the people close to me vulnerable to them.
Then again… am I?
When they took my hope of saving her, my human hands, and my will to live, I begged them again.
When my humanity was lost, there was no one left to beg. My captors did not take it from me; I gave it away myself.
For years, I held a selfish hope that they would trick some other poor fool into coming here. I imagined that, with the power I’d absorbed from the throne on which I’m imprisoned, I might help their new victim; I could bend the world to improve the newcomer’s odds, guide them to the door that brought me to this room, and perhaps be rewarded with a companion for whose fate I wouldn’t have to blame myself.
But they didn’t. It was if my tormentors were deliberately wearing me down, waiting for me to break and do their dirty work for them.
Perhaps, since the Codex Umbra was pulled in with me, they have no way to acquire new victims, and they require a human traitor to help them snare more of his kind.
I don’t know how long I resisted the temptation. Time moves differently here. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were stretching it out so that a day in the world I left behind lasts a season in this little pocket of Hell.
But eventually, as the years wore on, the sound of those damn torches slowly ate into my mind, my ears begged for the sound of a voice, and my skin cried out for another person’s touch, I gave in.
Of course, I tried to justify it. I’d been unprepared. I wasn’t strong enough. Maybe a more powerful person would be able to do what I could not, to defeat the beings that held us here and find a way to escape.
The delusions we trick ourselves into in the depths of desperation.
The first two soldiers I contacted were wise enough to refuse me. The third was all but broken by war, by the public’s harsh reception when he came home, and by his own inability to adapt to civilian life.
From his perspective, he had little to lose by accepting one last mission, one I deluded both of us into thinking he had a chance of accomplishing.
We were both such fools. As if he could defeat an enemy that neither of us could destroy or even understand.
He didn’t even last long enough for them to become a threat. A Deerclops got him first.
I told myself the next one would succeed. I kept on telling myself that until he was stabbed to death by a spiked tentacle.
And then, as my guilt crushed down on me, I told myself they deserved it. After all, I had survived, hadn’t I? I had faced the same odds they had, and triumphed. They’d died because they were weak and stupid, not because I had selfishly lured them to their deaths.
When the suicidal ex-Marine was eaten by a Bearger, I kept telling myself that.
When the martial arts student was cut down by Charlie after entering The Constant out of compassion for me, I continued repeating my excuses.
As I watched the victims who thought they’d be rescuers die, one after another, I ceased to find comfort in the hope that they’d succeed, and tried instead to find some solace in the days before their deaths.
I’d spent so long watching an unpopulated world turn without me that compared to that, seeing another person repeat my fight for survival felt almost like being alive again. I could nearly recall the feeling of machinery coming to life in my hands, of grass beneath my feet, of a rabbit’s soft fur before it gave its life to prolong mine.
In the brief moments when I was able to communicate with the people I deceived, I could almost feel that I was part of another person’s life again.
What am I saying? Of course I was a part of their life.
The part that led it to its end.
Not that I could admit that to myself. Not before I went numb.
As I spread my focus to targets from other walks of life, people who knew nothing of combat or survival, I told myself I was simply trying a new strategy – maybe someone with a different perspective would be able to repeat my success and surpass it.
Besides, this mission was important, wasn’t it? After all, the creatures that control The Constant were still a threat. If they weren’t defeated once and for all, who knew what they might eventually do.
As if there was any realistic chance that that mission could be accomplished.
As the years went by, the creeping rot of desensitization started to strip away the need to lie to myself, and reality began to sink it. And that reality was, I was bored. I was tired of watching trained fighters fail, so I wanted to try something new.
That’s what my most recent victims died for. Not for a hope that faded years ago, but a final attempt to feel alive by a broken husk that cannot die.
As long as I’m bound to the Nightmare Throne, it’s easier if I don’t think of myself as anything more than that. Trying to be something other than what my jailers wanted me to become takes energy that ran out long ago.
Of course, that’s probably just another excuse. I should’ve stopped before those became necessary, and just let my soul decay with what little grace it still had instead of corrupting it further.
I shouldn’t have given them the satisfaction of listening to me beg, or of hearing the final words and screams of the people I got killed.
Hearing, and… I shudder to think of it.
I knew they were watching, listening… but I never foresaw that they would record those people’s final sounds, mash them into a gratingly cheery tune, and then put that horrible song on a phonograph that never stops playing.
“The cold! It burns!”
“Heh… this is what I get for trusting voices on the radio.”
“I’m sorry… Elizabeth…”
“This heat is unbearable.”
I’m starting to forget which voice belongs to who. I can’t even remember how many people I’ve lured here, how many lives I’ve ruined.
Is it because there were too many to count, or because if I remembered, what little remains of my conscience would destroy what’s left of my mind?
In the end, knowing won’t change anything. I’d rather not think about them. The sins of the past cannot be undone, and my latest misdeed taunts me with the hope that my crimes might finally pay.
When the redhead agreed to enter this world, tempted by the promise of a stage that would suit the persona that’s devoured her mind, I thought she was just another sap who had fallen for a clever conman’s lies.
But now, I’ve started to believe that out of all the people I brought here, she is the first to truly receive what she wanted from our deal.
She threw herself into the task of survival with savage gusto, slaughtering anything that challenged her spear. Her foolish devotion to her diet, combined with her fragile mind and reckless love of battle, have sometimes left her clinging to life by the skin of her carnivorous teeth, and yet somehow, she still lives.
Several times, I’ve watched her body break, only to be made whole again by an effigy or enchanted stone. Just as mine was, more times than I can recall.
When she found my door, my spirits rose. She passed it by, and they sank again – only to flicker back to life when she returned a year later with a defiant gleam in her eye.
The warrior desires a challenge, and with a puppet shaped like me dangling from their strings, I know that our mysterious captors will give her one. They’ll pretend that I don’t want her here, when in truth, her arrival is the only thing I can still realistically hope for.
They don’t want to lose their favorite toy, so they will try to deter her. But perhaps, if she proves as resilient as me, they’ll decide they’ve found a worthy new plaything to twist and break.
Better her than me.
It isn’t a matter of deserving anymore. She doesn’t deserve to be conned into this. I don’t deserve to be freed.
But I no longer care. I’m beyond feeling guilty for my victims’ deaths, and long past wishing that one of them would offer the friendship I’ve forgotten how to feel. My need for conversation and physical contact has withered along with my morals and my soul.
I’ve been losing pieces of myself for… heh. Track of time is just one more thing I’ve lost.
If she can destroy the pieces that still tie me to this world, I don’t care how little of me is left to pass into the next one, or if that lingering fragment is sent to Hell. It can’t be worse than this.
I just want to be anywhere other than here.
I won’t beg her for it, though. I’m done with begging.
It never works anyway.
She will do what she will do, and I doubt that any facts or reason will sway her stubborn mind. She doesn’t seem very smart, and I almost wish I wasn’t smart enough to know that no matter what she does, she’ll just be delaying the inevitable.
Reality is like that, sometimes.
For now, I’ll continue to wait and watch. I think I’ve said enough.
In the game, the phonograph simply plays a jaunty but grating tune. However, given the fact that all the characters are voiced by musical instruments, it has been theorized that the music is composed of various characters' voices and screams.
Given Maxwell's tendency to lure people into The Constant, it is quite possible that the sounds he's forced to listen to 24/7 are the voices of his past victims.