GM IC: With prototype's back turned, the team of Toa made good progress, moving to another room halfway up the corridor before the hunter turned back towards them and stomped down the corridor, searching uselessly for intruders. It didn't take the Toa long to deduce that this hunter was dumb as a brick. They moved on, pressing further into the archives while going deeper all the time. Their akakus worked well, allowing them to detect guards well before they neared them, and only had to sneak past one more.
The further they came, however, the more signs they saw that the Hunters were using the areas they passed through. This was where they lived, trained, stored supplies and planned attacks. They saw not only guards, but other types too, moving through the archives from one place to another. With these beings, Tehutti's knowledge proved invaluable. He kept them off the beaten tracks and out of sight, skulking through areas that were so easy to get lost in that they were mostly ignored.
They were just coming out of a tight maintenance tunnel when they found a guard Standing rigidly at the intersection of three tunnels. He was a tall figure and heavily armoured, and carried two tall staffs, each capped with a rhotuka launcher. A dull green haze surrounded him, pierced only by his shining red eyes.
"Tehutti?" Lhikan asked. "How can we get around this one?"
"Er..." Tehutti stumbled, the strain showing clearly on his mask as he tried to devise a new route. "Was there anyone in the tunnel above us and to the right?"
"Two" Turano confirmed.
"Oh, right" the Matoran sighed. "Well, maybe we could... no wait, there's... umm..."
"Just take your time" Lhikan said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "We'll get into another room so you can think."
Turano did as instructed, getting them through the door to a large vault filled with stasis tubes. The glass was coated with a thin layer of dust, but they could still see the large, insect-like eyes peering out at them, unseeing. They had become practiced at this, able to quickly pile through a newly made door and seal it again in a minimum of time, but on this occasion, they were not fast enough. Descending from an air vent, Crewo would see a large white ankle disappearing through the door before it closed off completely.
OOC: The following takes place during the timeskip.
GM IC (Ko-Metru): Dekuna heard Helios' call for help, but never got the chance to answer. While he was focused on the fight below and maintaining his illusions, he had neglected to keep watch behind him. It was a complete surprise, then, when the eyebeams cut across his back and he lost all access to his powers. Suddenly, his sixth sense was cut off completely. His mind was blank even before the rhotuka followed up and he fell to the floor in a heap, robbed of all physical coordination.
Ancient stepped over the fallen Toa, still hovering a foot off the ground. "You" he said, pointing to Spellbinder. "You're wanted, follow me. The rest can deal with the trouble they've got into". He turned to go, but then thought better of it. Bending down, he casually took hold of Dekuna's legs and tossed him over his shoulder. The Toa of sonics flew across the street and fetched up against the base of another knowledge tower. He didn't stir.
Ancient didn't wait to see the outcome for his throw, he just walked off, back towards Onu-Metru.
The small fireplace in the corner of Dume’s office burned hotter as the Turaga’s frustration rose to a peak. “That’s it!” he snapped. “Get out, the lot of you! I can’t work with seven Toa standing over me and asking questions. You can all go back to standing guard outside my door and then maybe I’ll get some peace.”
“With all respect, Turaga” Lema began, “I’d rather not let you out of my sight. With the Hunters growing bolder…”
“I’ll be just fine, thank you” Dume shot back. “And if I’m not mistaken, that’s an akaku on your face, not just a lump of congealed protodermis. You will be able to keep an eye on me from the other side of that door.”
“That’s really not the point” the Toa tried to continue. “We must be able to respond quickly if…”
“No, I’ve had enough” Dume declared, brandishing his firestaff. “Scram, the lot of you, and don’t come back in here until I tell you to!”
Reluctantly, the seven Toa all trooped out. Dume had put his foot down, and there was no use arguing with the Turaga of fire beyond that point. In the corner, the smoke from the fireplace swirled darkly before retreating up the chimney.
Just outside, clinging to the sheer wall of the coliseum Hatann was three seconds away from annoying Spellbinder enough to warrant an 'accident' befalling his person at some point during this mission, but that would have to wait at least a little, until they'd snapped Turaga Dume's neck. Oh yes, she was looking forward to this.
She was floating near the wall, propelled by her elemental power, as she slowly segued up the wall to where Hatann was watching the Turaga inside, hidden under his own disguise. She knew that she could very easily conceal him, too, but... nah
"You doing okay, it would be a real shame if you were to lose your cover now" she said, flashing a wicked grin.
Outlined in smoke, the rest of Hatann's body wound itself out of Dume's chimney vent. He floated there as as mass of swirling vapours, practically invisible from ground level but apparent to Spellbinder's eyes. He was wearing his best Skakdi scowl. This crazy witch of a toa was unmatched with her element, but hardly the best to work with. At least it wouldn't be for too much longer.
He is alone. Hatann thought strongly, projecting the words to the surface of his mind so she would be able to read them easily. The guards have just left, and are waiting outside the door. This is the opportunity we have been waiting for.
"Oh joy" Spellbinder beamed, clapping her hands. Her yellow eyes flashed erratically, as if her concentration was only partial.
"Let's go and give him a big surprise" she said, her grin shifting from wicked to sadistic.
Hatann's body billowed back around and wound it way back into the smoke vent. There was a filter there, designed to keep out rain, rahi and very small Dark Hunters, but it proved no obstacle to him. A particle of smoke, after all, makes a protodite look huge.
Down the chimney he came, and slowly brought himself to rest among the flames, where he had previously been watching the Turaga. There he was, bent over a piece of paper, brows furrowed in thought. There was no sign of the guards waiting outside the office door, constantly watching the area with elda, rode and akaku. Their masks of detection were useless to them now. With his body transmuted into smoke, he was neither invisible nor cloaked in an illusion. Instead, he was hidden in plain sight, completely visible to the akaku, but not arousing any suspicion. He waited in the fireplace for Spellbinder to make her entrance.
If there was one thing Spellbinder wasn't known for, it was being delicate, but that was mostly just because a lot of her fellow hunters failed to look beyond the alleged "insanity" she was apparently afflicted with. She shook her head, as far as she was concerned they were the insane ones.
A few mental probes gave her the image of seven Toa, around Dume's chamber, and with Hatann and Dume both close by.
She retracted at the speed of lightning when she noticed another presence, an Elda had caught wind of her and gained insight through her illusion.
She remained completely still, floating by a nearby window, out of the Akaku-wielding Toa's current range, as she kept her consciousness tightly contained within the mental barriers natural to her kind. The Elda-Toa's mind she soothed with gentle thoughts of security and slightly blurred the memory of the mask's brief warning. It was probably nothing...
She waited... nothing. She smiled.
She spread out again, immediately creeping into the mind of the Elda-wearing Toa and keeping him from noticing the alarm sounding from his mask, next came the Akaku-wielder, and the Rode-wearing one.
That last one was especially tricky, to deceive a mask specifically meant to see through any form of trickery, but Spellbinder considered herself one of the Dark Hunters' finest liars, and she wasn't about to let a Mask upstage her. The solution came in the form of interfering with the mask's communication to its wielder. It wasn't blocked, since that would tip them off, just screened out, like she was in a blind spot. With that taken care off, Spellbinder opened the window, finding herself floating into a hall leading to a majestic door, her presence obscured from the sight of the two Toa guarding the door.
Her grip on the physical world was almost gone, she could barely feel the sensation of her legs moving, planting her feet on the floor as she progressed towards the large door. Such was her focus that only a fraction of her strong concentration was devoted to piloting her body forward... and another tiny little fraction was devoted to the requisite scheming of any ambitious Dark Hunter.
Obscured from any sensory input by the two Toa guards before her, and the infringing masks kept in check, Spellbinder reached out and opened the door.
She stepped in to sense, more than see, Turaga Dume sit by his desk, and he looked up as she came in, his mind going into an immediate state of alarm, but whatever call for the guards he may have issued was unheard, her mask made sure of that.
"Nighty night, Dumie" she said, and...
The telekinetic blow was like a kick in the back for Dume, even as his head was wrenched backwards. His neck snapped with a loud pop, and he fell to the floor, dead.
Almost before the Turaga's body had even hit the ground, Hatann rushed and billowed forwards out of the fireplace, his smoke finally taking the usual shape of his body, large and solid. As he reached Dume's body to check it really was dead, it became so, a form of metal and flesh once again.
The light of Dume's eyes and heartlight was gone, not a spark remained. Still, Hatann removed his noble kiril, placed it on the desk, and, with one swift blow from his mace, shattered it. That would make a nice gift for the Toa once they realised what was going on, and that they were already too late.
And in fact, here they were already. The ordinary noises they were making could no be scrambled by Spellbinders' mask, and the first of them burst in through the door, weapons raised. Hatann didn't wait for them at all. He fired a darkness sphere into the room to cover their getaway and tilted gravity in the room by 90 degrees. They all fell towards and through the window that Spellbinder had come through, out into the empty space hundreds of bio up the side of the coliseum.
Toa and Hunters were all in freefall now, but Hatann remained in control. Another gravity well threw him and Spellbinder away to the left, putting the side of the huge building between them and the heroes. Another change of direction and force, and they were shooting away north, bounding through the night air in great looping arcs, soaring and falling in turn as they made their escape.
They crossed into Onu-Metru, safe within Dark Hunter territory, they met another figure, hovering in the sky with his levitation boots, and a tall, intricately carved staff held in his hand. "You were successful?" Ancient asked, but then the sirens started blaring from the coliseum, and his question was answered for him. "Well done. Now, you may return to the Onu-Metru base. We'll give them a little time to realise that they have no leader, with Dume dead and Lhikan missing, then march at dawn."