[Too many saw through the End's illusion. Or perhaps it had been too weakened by Redd's brutal attacks.
Its influence wasn't affecting the passengers nearly enough, and apparently new tactics are called for. The Great Man himself is bleeding but still grinning furiously. And yet with so much of his magic directed to that shield, the End itself cannot expand to its full capabilities. It will have to get creative.
The End maintains its mental attack on the passengers -- the trauma is pleasing to it, and it keeps them somewhat busy -- and suddenly appears behind the wounded Captain, the hands of That Person reaching for his throat with a furious snarl.
There's a flurry of white feathers and an undignified squawk, and the Heron appears between the two, flapping her undamaged wing towards the mass. What does she see, if anything at all?
It steps back with a hiss of pain.
A clack of her beak, and the Heron advances, spreading both wings, dripping blood onto the deck. She seems to glow slightly, the air around her warping and shimmering until she morphs, shifting once again into her human form.
Auksararpoq, the proud and powerful Admiral of the End's fleet of Agents and dedicated spy for Captain Redd. Her left hand has been sliced off at the wrist and bleeds profusely, but she ignores this, her eyes dark and focused purely on the End.
The body language of the illusion relaxes completely, seemingly curious to see exactly what might be coming. Exactly how does one defeat a god, even one by self-definition?
Jaw setting, Auksararpoq forces herself past the pain and fear, past the terror of the moment and this final desperate battle. Her mind reaches out, spreading far and wide. How do you invade the thoughts of a creature with no body to speak of? It must be possible; she refuses to accept that it isn't. And yet a very large part of her is afraid to see what might be in that mind.
She finds it, a seething ball of hate and rage like a thousand maggots writhing over the corpse of a dog in a frenzy of blind hunger. And she forces her way in, pulling and stretching the edges, diluting the emotion and whittling it down.
The End SCREAMS. Or more accurately, that person does. It clutches its head and staggers backwards with a howl of pain as those passengers who refuse to see the illusion continue to fire on it.
Auksararpoq advances. If she can keep it subdued for long enough, then they can break it down. This could work. Where one had failed for so long, many may be victorious.
Squirming around on the floor, the person rolls over onto its back and doesn't move. Its eyes stare blankly up, then slowly its head turns to fix on Auksararpoq. It vanishes, then reappears behind her, hands wrapped around her throat.]
Bitch. I gave you those powers. You cannot defeat me with a gift I bestowed upon you.
You had everything and gave it up for him. Why?
He cannot win. You know this.
[Teeth bared, she snarls at it.]
He's stronger than-- you.
[Redd's eyes are bulging with fury, and the entire ship begins to rumble as he hisses and his fists clench, the shield crackling in places.
The hands around her throat tighten.]
Ah but he is not. He has a weakness.
[Suddenly it's gone. That person has vanished.
And then Auksararpoq screams.
The skin on her fingers begins to peel back, the nails dropping to the ground like acrylics as her epidermis shrinks away. Her hair sheds and scatters around her shoulders as her scalp peels off slowly, her eyes rolling back as her lips shed like bad sunburn. Blood soaks her clothes as muscle disintegrates and melts away, her screams dying off as her lungs flop wetly to the deck and she collapses into a messy heap of blood, organs, bone and a once proud crew uniform.
A thick red liquid pools around her, but it can't be blood; blood doesn't pulse and move by itself. It slurps and gurgles its way over her body and forms a seal, crunching and chewing through the sloppy mess.
The ship thunders hard enough to throw every single person off their feet. Everyone except Redd, that is.
He makes no sound. His eyes are darker and more full of undiluted cruelty than they have ever been through any punishment, any invasion, any disobedience. Spit foams at the corners of his mouth, and his voice is so quiet it can barely be heard, and yet so loud and all-encompassing that no one can miss his orders.]