"There, that should do it," Gippal said, coming up to the hill overlooking what the people were now calling Macalania Bay. The effect of the destruction of the root, much of the banks around the former Lake Macalania had collapsed on themselves. The collapsing resulted in a long inlet from the ocean opening up to the lake, and the area was going to become a very prime area for development and trade. Boats could now sail and easily reach the Woods, and with the close proximity to Bevelle, it was going to be in high demand.
As of that moment, however, the area was still relatively deserted. The Travel Agency still stood, and now another building stood beside it.
Gippal lifted his hands and revealed that he was holding two half-full wine glasses. The light from the setting sun glinted off Baralai's raven black hair as he turned his head and smiled at Gippal. "It's all done, isn't it?"
"All it needs is to be officially opened," Gippal replied, handing Baralai one of the glasses. He couldn't help the warmth he felt inside when he looked back at the new, sturdy brick building with the large coloured windows, and he raised his glass toward it.
"I think he'd like it," Baralai murmured, turning and raising his glass too. "It was something we both strived for... but what he truly wanted."
"Are you kidding? We all strived for it," Gippal corrected him gently, putting his free arm around Baralai's shoulders as they looked at each other then back at the building. "And here it is."
Gippal gestured to the new building, and Baralai smiled proudly. An Al Bhed worker was just hammering the last of the holding nails into the finely crafted mithril-gilded sign that read The Spira Historical Society.
Gippal raised his glass a little higher, and smiled as he announced to anyone listening, "To you, Nooj."
Three female voices chimed in from the entrance of the Travel Agency. "To Nooj," Yuna, Rikku, and Paine said in unison, raising wine glasses of their own.
Baralai tossed Gippal a smile, a very all-knowing one at that, as though he wanted to tell Gippal that he didn't think the three girls would ever know the whole story. Gippal thought he agreed with Baralai -- and it was probably better that way.
Clinking his glass against Gippal's, Baralai said, "To our old friend."
"Gippal, why do you still wear your eyepatch?"
Looking over at Baralai, Gippal shrugged and leaned back on his hands, looking up at the blossoming trees in Macalania Woods. Spring was upon them now, and the Spira Historical Society had been successfully opened for almost three months. Sphere hunters from all around the world donated to the organization, and now several historians worked for the museum, piecing the information together to create a picture of Spira's true past.
"You don't still need it, do you?" Baralai continued, still looking at Gippal. "I mean, you can see just fine, right?"
"I can see fine, yeah," Gippal replied, letting his arms slide out from underneath him and collapsing back against the ground of the path they sat on. "But the eyepatch... it's part of who I am, you know? Reborn or not, I'm still Gippal... and that means the goofy Al Bhed with one eye."
"You're just worried that people won't recognize you," Baralai replied, turning and looking down at a leaf he was turning over and over in his fingers.
"Maybe," Gippal said, a motion in the canopy of the forest catching his eye, "but it's more like... it's something that I have to remind me of the past. Because being reborn doesn't mean I should forget what's happened to me in the past." He laughed lightly for a moment, his eyes finally finding the source of the motion to be a bird looking down at him from a high branch. "Kinda like what we're trying to teach all of Spira with the Historical Society. Guess I should set an example."
With a flurry of motion, the bird from above left the branch and swooped down, landing on a branch very near to Baralai and eyeing the two of them curiously. Finally, Baralai saw it too and got to his feet as if taking a closer look. "Gippal, come look," he said, motioning Gippal over with a slow wave of the hand. "It's a falcon."
Gippal didn't know a falcon from a Malboro, but he took Baralai's word for it and even hauled himself up off the ground to join Baralai near the bird in question. "Are they rare or something?"
Baralai nodded gravely. "They thought the last one was seen in Bevelle a few months before the whole Vegnagun incident. They're native to these woods, and when the woods was dying, everyone thought it took the falcon with it."
Gippal raised his eyebrow. "But with the return of the Guado, didn't the forest come back to life again?"
"Supposedly," Baralai replied, taking a few steps closer to the bird, who didn't seem particularly perturbed by this turn of events. "He's so young... only a couple of months or so..."
"Maybe the removal of the tree helped out somehow," Gippal suggested, shrugging his shoulders and leaning towards the bird who was now seeming to engage him in a staring contest. The look that the bird was giving him was disturbingly deep and knowledgable, as though it had been around a lot longer than its lifespan seemed to indicate.
They were silent for a long moment as the bird looked back and forth between them. Suddenly, the falcon extended his wings and leaned forward, lodging his beak in Gippal's hair.
"Hey!" Gippal protested, drawing back. This worked to his disadvantage; the bird lifted into the air and as it did so, lifted Gippal's eyepatch up through his hair and off over the top of his head.
The falcon, flying away while carrying Gippal's eyepatch, turned its head and gave the pair of them one last long look.
Gippal could have sworn the bird smirked at him.