So, shaking with nerves, Wish hauled herself on to the back of the bear, taking hold of her long brown fur as she climbed it like a hillock. The bear generously barely even flinched even though Wish must have been pulling her hair, and Xar and Bodkin climbed up behind her.
‘Hold tight,’ said the bear, getting to her feet.
It was a quarter past midnight, four weeks before Midwinter’s End Eve, and a thirteen-year-old boy was dangling precariously from a disintegrating homemade rope hanging from outside the darkest tower of Gormincrag, the Rehabilitation Centre for the Re-Education of Dark Magic and Wicked Wizards.
(That, by the way, is a long and fancy name for a jail, and not just any old jail, the most secure and impregnable jail in the wildwoods.)