Methuseld appeared at his side and settled into the grass next to him, also staring into the night sky. Finian glanced at the old mage, whose eyes were locked upon the tiny lights above them.
“They say to find our way back to the Nameless Lands, we must sail east into the sunrise until the stars and the sea meet and we come to the Gate of Anorith, far beyond any map we possess,” Methuseld said, gazing up at the stars.
“What happens then?” Finian asked, looking at the old man, who was playing with his beard thoughtfully.
“It is said that the Gate will be found barred from the other side. We have not Anistaru’s permission to return. Not in this life.”
Finian was silent for a long moment. “Does anyone know where the Gate is?”
“Mariners claim to have been there and back, but none of them can ever find it again. Man can look upon the Gate only once in this life, or so it is believed.”
“Is that what you said to the Ranger? When he died? You said something to him in the streets.”
“It is an old rite,” Methuseld said. “A prayer, asking the great Anistaru to allow him entrance to the Forbidden Lands.”
“You said something about trees,” Finian said, frowning, trying to remember.
“The trees of the forgotten shores, yes. They’re said to give everlasting life to the one that eats the fruit that grows upon the trees.” Methuseld shifted in the grass, looking at Finian. “The trees of the Gardens of Sengethame are said to have grown from a single seed of these trees, bestowed upon Shimidar, the first mage, upon man’s arrival here.”
“Do people eat the fruit?” Finian asked.
“Some have tried,” Methuseld said. “They die within hours.”
“We do not have Anistaru’s permission to eat of the trees,” Methuseld said simply.
The Book of Secrets will be released next month.