The direction my brain spun off in here should be a surprise to exactly no one.
Nooj: If you’re done playing, let’s go.
Gippal: Chill out.
Nooj: Lost your nerve?
Gippal: Hey, we’re talking about Vegnagun. How the heck do you fight that thing? We can’t even walk up to it without freakin’ it out.
Nooj: Or making it mad. But I’ve got a plan.
Gippal: If it doesn’t work?
Nooj: Death will be my apology.
Gippal: Whatever, man. When a Deathseeker dies, that’s no apology. What about Leblanc?
Nooj: Well, she—
"--'ll just find some other trophy to chase after. What does it matter?"
Gippal persisted. "So there's really nothing going on there?"
Nooj shrugged. "She only wants me because she can't have me. If I ever gave in, she'd get bored in a week, then set her sights on someone else. No. Leblanc should be the least of your worries. Come, I think the path is over here."
The two men walked in silence for a few moments, along the darkened trail, when Gippal had another thought. "Okay, so what about Paine?"
"What about her?" Nooj kept walking and stared resolutely forward.
"Oh, c'mon! Don't you even try to tell me there's nothing between the two of you. We both know better than that."
Nooj shook his head. "Perhaps in the past, but not anymore. After what I did to her, I doubt she cares whether I live or die."
Gippal peered up at him, eyebrows raised. "Are you serious? Didn't you see her face when she thought Baralai was about to kill you?" Nooj said nothing, but Gippal saw him swallow hard. "That wasn't the look of someone who doesn't care. Seems to me--"
"Enough!" Nooj cut him off with a sweep of his hand, eyes blazing, and Gippal stepped back from the intensity of his gaze. "It's over. And even if it weren't, this is bigger than the two of us. If my death is the price for Baralai's safety, and Spira's, she'll understand."
"Maybe." The men started walking again, Gippal falling in a step behind. "But I bet she'd rather you found another way."
"There is no other way. Now can we drop this subject?" An edge crept into Nooj's voice, and Gippal decided to back off; he had long known not to push his friend when he got into these moods. They walked along in silence, Gippal's eye fixed on Nooj's stiff shoulders as he considered their next move and the battle still to come.