Born to a simple farming family, baby Willow Ufgood was named for a fallen willow tree near the River Freen, a pure waterway that traced a border around the valley where the diminutive Nelwyn folk live. Even as an infant, he showed Force-potential; the High Aldwin declared that Willow was special upon his birth. Willow's father, Schnorr, disregarded the Aldwin's prophetic words, and insisted simply that his son be a good farmer and lead a simple life.
When Willow was still a child, he witnessed a flamboyant display of magic and stagecraft from a traveling entertainer performing at a Nelwyn festival. Willow was entranced, and from that day forward, he took to studying magical trickery and slight of hand, much to the consternation of old Schnorr.
When Schnorr passed, maintaining the farm at Ufgood Reach fell to Willow. The first few years were tough, and he would never have succeeded if not for his young wife, Kiaya. Willow adapted to the life of a farmer and father, raising two young children, Ranon and Mims. He never abandoned his interest in magic, though, often pestering the High Aldwin to be taken as his apprentice. The Aldwin was reticent to take on a new learner, but Willow kept his skills honed by putting on festival stagecraft of his own.
Such simple displays of prestidigitation were where Willow's daydreams often focused. He silently held ambitions of someday becoming a great sorcerer. These dreams mattered little to the surly Prefect Burglekutt, who kept Willow toiling in the fields to pay his taxes, and threatened to send him to the mines should his upkeep ever fall short.
During the Spring Festival of the 1,342nd year of the Nelwyn village, Willow was one of the hopefuls that went before the High Aldwin as the aged wizard was finally set to choose his next apprentice. The wise man asked his initiates to identify which finger held the power to control the world. Not trusting his intuition, Willow chose one of the Aldwin's outstretched digits, when the true answer was to choose one of his own.
It was also on this year that Willow's life would forever change when a child of prophecy appeared in his household. Rescued from the River Freen by his well-intentioned children, the Daikini baby was hunted by the evil forces of Queen Bavmorda. When the town was raided by Death Dogs, Willow knew the child needed to be taken to the crossroads and be given to a Daikini human.
The trek was lengthy, but Willow avoided the dark forces that pursued the infant child. At the crossroads, he gave the child to a captive swordsman, Madmartigan. Despite his misgivings, Willow parted from the child, only to find the infant a short while later captured by mischievous Brownies. The tiny beings led Willow to Cherlindrea of the Forest, who explained the child's significance to Willow.
The child was Elora Danan, destined to be the future empress of Tir Asleen and vanquisher of the evil Queen Bavmorda whose dark forces were taking over all lands. Cherlindrea tasked Willow to take Elora to Fin Raziel, a sorceress held captive by Bavmorda's powers on an isolated island. Raziel would then lead Willow to the fabled land of Tir Asleen, where a great army awaited to repulse Bavmorda's hordes.
Willow soon rejoined Madmartigan, who aided him in his quest, and found Fin Raziel trapped in animal form by a dark side incantation. Willow's nascent powers failed to return Raziel to her human form. Upon finding Tir Asleen, they discovered that the ancient castle was cursed, and no army waited to repulse Bavmorda's forces. Her dark soldiers invaded Tir Asleen, and absconded with the baby. Queen Bavmorda planned to sacrifice Elora Danan to ensure her uninterrupted rule.
The survivors of Galladoorn, recently decimated by Kael's army, arrived in time to join Willow. They took the fight to Bavmorda's castle keep at Nockmaar. As the battle raged below, Willow entered Bavmorda's citadel with Fin Raziel, who had regained her human form. Raziel and Bavmorda locked in a powerful Force battle while Willow rescued baby Elora Danan from the sacrificial alter. Using a simple sleight of hand trick, Willow made it seem as if he had teleported Elora to safety. The enraged Bavmorda lost control of her roiling Force storm, and was consumed by her dark powers.
With Bavmorda eliminated, the dark pall she cast over Andowyne vanished. Raziel was able to lift the curse over Tir Asleen, where Elora Danan would someday rule. Willow returned to the Nelwyn Village with Fin Riziel's book of magic, where he would continue to practice his Force abilities in peace.
A year later, Willow experienced a strange dream. He was riding on the back of Calan Dineer, a mighty Duinuogwuin star dragon, who took the Nelwyn to parts of Andowyne he had never seen before. Dineer somehow deposited Willow in Tir Asleen, where he again met with Madmartigan and Elora Danan. This would be the first of many dreamlike excursions Willow and the dragon would share, though to the Nelwyn, they were very vivid.
One such journey took him to a world entirely wrapped in harsh deserts, and populated with many bizarre and wondrous beings. There, Willow adopted the guise of Weazel, a transient in a strange port city. Willow used his magic to tip the odds of simple card games, earning enough keep to stay afloat in an alien world. His winning streak earned the attention of Watto, a local junkshop proprietor who invited "Weazel" to his viewing box to watch the Boonta Eve Podrace. Watto thought, incorrectly, that Weazel would prove to help ensure good luck. Watto lost everything on that race.
Though the time spent on the desert seemed to fill months, Willow found himself awake in the greenery of the Nelwyn Village, with nothing but a sunburn and a parched throat as evidence of his otherworldly journey. Such mysteries would go unsolved and all but forgotten when a mighty Cataclysm shook the realm. Places of Power throughout Andowyne --points where the Force was strongest on the world -- suddenly erupted in terrible blasts, leaving only rubble behind. Tir Asleen was utterly destroyed.
Devastated, Willow shed his past, adopting the name Thorn Drumheller. He spent the next dozen years wandering Andowyne, searching for answers behind the Cataclysm. Was his journey to another world in part responsible? Had he failed as a sorcerer and protector to Elora Danan? He began to find answers on the other side of the planet, in the land of Angwyn, where Elora ruled as a Sacred Princess.