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Celebrating Unity Day

As of writing this, it’s the date when “Unity Day” is celebrated in Metru Nui. I bring up this particular holiday because it marks the anniversary of when I met Paravhiki, who was a part of the Metru Nui Task Force and provided most of its documentation following the organization's official disbandment by Turaga Bomupar about 27 years ago. Despite my connection to him, I have yet to document how we met or how this bond formed. Why not today to etch the tale into tablet?

It was about 31 years from today, so around three years after Bomupar officially created the Metru Nui Task Force. Despite the civil war in Metru Nui having been over for decades now, the resentment between the various tribes still lingered. Because of this, Bomupar highlighted Unity Day in hopes of mending these grievances. I understood the sentiment, but giving your neighboring Metru a kitschy gift won’t mend a four-hundred-year-old wound in one day.

That wasn’t the reason I was alone that day, though. No, it was because, despite the things I’ve seen and near-deaths I’ve survived in my travels, I hadn’t really made a friend. Neither amongst my fellow Akutana Chroniclers, who mostly enjoyed spending time by themselves, nor the native Le-Metru populace. I am not from the Great City, but rather somewhere else entirely. While the other Le-Matoran gather to hear my tales of adventure, I'm merely an amusement to them.

As a result of how I’d lived before becoming a Chronicler, I’d grown accustomed to actually eating my food instead of absorbing it or going to a conduit every year like most of the Metru inhabitants do. Thankfully, I’m not completely alone on that. I had discovered a few nearly-unnoticeable locations in Le-Metru that catered to Matoran like me. While being severed from access to a feeding conduit during the War, many Matoran had grown accustomed to the same form of consumption I had, and as a result there are a few locations in the city that serve liquids blended with fruits and spices that most would otherwise simply absorb from their hands. I was sitting at one such place during this particular Unity Day, sucking down a glass of Rangimelon Juice and wallowing in the irony and self-pity of my situation: alone on Unity Day.

That was when a Ta-Matoran entered the room. His red-lined cloak denoted his status as part of the Metru Nui Task Force. I vividly remember feeling my muscles tense at his entry. I was worried that perhaps this sort of establishment was somehow illegal, or else it was a disgruntled member looking for an excuse to vent his anger out on someone. You see, despite Turaga Bomupar’s best attempts to promote diversity with the formation of the Task Force, most of its members tended to stick to their own Metru instead of policing domestic issues in other parts of the Great City. Whenever they were shoved to another Metru for one reason or another they tended to be rather discontent, especially the Ta-Matoran. Now that you understand where my tension came from, you could imagine the immediate mix of relief and confusion when he sat down next to me and ordered himself a drink!

Despite my initial fears being dissuaded, I still noticed he wore a similarly glum expression to mine. Normally I didn’t talk much when drinking there, as it was my place to essentially be alone with my thoughts, but with it being Unity Day and this Matoran being the only other patron in here today I figured he was here for the same reason as I. “Unity Day got you down, friend?” I asked him; the Matoran looked at me like he had only now noticed me. I could see a slightly quizzical look in his eyes - if my armor didn’t tip him off that I wasn’t native to this island, then my lack of accent exhibited by the local Le-Matoran definitely did. “How’d you guess?” He said dryly, a glass of something that smelled salty and savory placed in front of him.

“Well, seeing as we’re both here for the same reason, mind telling me why a Task Force member has reason to be so down during a holiday?”

He sighed, taking a sip of his drink before answering. “Judging from your armor, I’m guessin’ you didn’t participate in the Civil War?” “No, I kept my distance from the island ‘till the conflict was over.” Then I quickly added. “N-not to sound aloof to what was happening, it just wasn’t my fight.” He gave a reassuring smile... “I don’t blame you,” His face turned grim as he continued to speak. ”It was a mountain made out of an Archives Mole hill that dragged everyone else into it and cost countless lives, and it took a massacre to end it.”

“I...take it you were in the War, then?”

He nodded, “I saw firsthand how Matoran would look for any reason to hate each other in order for the War to feel justified, and as a result, the prejudices still linger. I thought being part of the Task Force would help mend these wounds, but even with Bomupar’s blessing it’s still an uphill battle.” “Ah, I see now.” I said. “It’s Unity Day and everyone would rather be patting themselves on the back instead of acknowledging their neighbors, which is the whole point of the celebration.”

He nodded once again, “I’m seen as a traitor by Ta-Matoran for even attempting conversation with Po-Matoran, and then I’m spat on by the builders for being a ‘smelt-breath’ or stepping anywhere near them. I’m a social outcast, and it especially stings today.”

He took a long swing of his drink, polishing it off and asking for another. “Now that I’ve poured out my sorrows to a complete stranger, I wouldn’t mind if you returned the favor?” I sipped my own drink before responding. “Well, while I haven’t been through anything quite like you have, I’m in a similar social limbo as you. Have you heard of the Akutana e-Metru Nui?”

“Yeah, the group of Chroniclers, right? I figured a bunch of free-spirited wanderers would get along well.” “We do, but being ‘free-spirited wanderers’ means...not spending much time with your fellow wanderers. Most of my fellow Chroniclers are content with being on their own or in their own thoughts, not much for personal conversation.” “What about the Le-Matoran here? They’re a lively bunch.”

“I had the same thought, but I quickly came to learn that my tales of intrigue were all that drew them in. I’m nothing but an amusement, a curiosity to them and nothing more.” I reached for my drink, ready to drown my renewed woes with it. Before I could put it to my lips, the Ta-Matoran spoke again, moving his glass towards me. “Well, then let’s drink to fellow social exiles. Not as lonely as once thought, eh?”

I smiled, clinking my glass to his before the both of us drank.

“What’s your name, friend?” The Ta-Matoran asked.

“Demak.” I told him. “Well Demak, it’s nice to know you then meet you, in that order.” He smirked. “I’m Paravhiki.”

“I can say the same for you, Paravhiki. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this feeling.”

The rest of our conversation was swapping stories of adventures we’ve had, experiences with Metru Nui we have both experienced, and laughter. I made a true friend that day; the two of us celebrated Unity Day better than anyone else had in doing so. Ever since, we always head back to the same spot every Unity Day and get away from our social struggles knowing there’s someone waiting for us. Speaking of which, my retelling of this tale must end here. As I said at the beginning of this, it’s Unity Day and I don’t want to keep Paravhiki waiting!

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