|The trio found themselves in a clearing in a wood. There were all types of animals there, horses, dogs, lions, leopards, and some strange creatures, that Felicity had never encountered before. These included centaurs, and also unicorns, though she had seen a picture of the latter in a book about mythology.|
In the midst of the gathering, were a mouse, a pirate and a fox. These three seemed to be the leaders. Their names, as Cassandra and Felicity soon discovered, were Reepicheep, Darangle and Xander. Cassandra was reassured by this, as she knew that they (or their ancestors) had helped her great-grandmother, Lucy on her last trip to Narnia with Erica.
'Jadis has been sighted in the land again,' said Reepicheep. 'We all know that her body was never found after the last battle with her. What makes it worse this time, is that she is not alone. Some of Darangle's fellow pirates have joined her, as have the black dwarves and the Enchantress of the Silver Chair. We need to defeat all of these, if Narnia is to be free again.'
'What about Aslan?' asked Cassandra. 'Has he not come to Narnia's aid?'
'Aslan will help us for sure, but he is in a far country at the moment and cannot be here in person,' explained Xander. ' He trusts us to fight for him as we have done before.'
'But why have we been brought here?' asked Cassandra. 'Surely you can fight them on your own. You seem to have plenty of support.'
'There are gifts and abilities that only daughters of Eve have. We do not have them. '
'I don't know anything about Narnia and it all seems rather scary to me,' said Felicity. 'But if you think I can help, I will gladly do so. Never let it be said that a Maynard refused to help someone in need.'
'I'm willing to help, too,' said Cassandra. 'Aslan brought us here for a purpose. We won't be able to get back to our own world, until it is accomplished. So, where do we begin?'
'First we need to tackle the Enchantress,' said Reepicheep. 'She is rumoured to live in the Wild Woods of the North. So, let's get a good night's sleep and tomorrow, Darangle, Xander, you two and I will set off.'
Early the next morning, the quintet set off. Felicity was so excited that she didn’t want to eat breakfast, but the others insisted, knowing that they had a long and tiring journey ahead of them.
They headed north through the woods. There was no straight path and they often had to choose between two different ways, but Xander seemed to know instinctively which way they should go, without needing a compass. At times, the foliage overhead was so dense, that they could hardly see more than a few yards ahead, so they were very grateful for his guidance.
Eventually, they came to the edge of the woods and saw a vast and empty plain stretching ahead of them, as far as the eye could see. In the far distance, they could see mountains.
‘Which way now?’ asked Cassandra.
‘I’m not so sure,’ said Xander. ‘This is unknown territory to me. The only people who really know Ettinsmoor are the Marsh Wiggles.’
At that moment, a tall, thin creature in a pointed hat appeared. ‘I am Puddleglum,’ he introduced himself. ‘Perhaps I can be of assistance to you. But then perhaps not. Things may turn out all right with my help, but perhaps you would be better off without it.’
‘We would be very grateful for your help,’ said Reepicheep on behalf of the others. ‘We need to get to the Wild Woods of the North and the only way is across Ettinsmoor, which we don’t know at all. I hope you can be our guide.’
‘I can,’ said Puddleglum. ‘But first, you must eat. You have already come a long way and there is still much further to travel. I am making eel stew, which you may like, but perhaps you won’t,’ he added gloomily.
The quintet tasted the eel stew and declared it to be delicious. In fact they all had second helpings, except for Darangle, who had a third helping as well!
‘That’s better,’ said Puddleglum, leaning back against a tree contentedly and filling his pipe, ‘Now, tell me more about why you want to go to the Wild Woods of the North. It’s dangerous there. Only the enchantress lives there and you don’t want to tangle with her.’
‘But we have no choice,’ said Reepicheep. ‘Our orders come from Aslan. Jadis is on the move again and the enchantress is joining forces with her.’
‘Very well,’ said Puddleglum. ‘Then I will help you. But I’m sure it will turn out for the worst. Maybe she will put you under a spell, as she has done others. Maybe you won’t even get that far, as the giants may eat you at their summer feast.’