"Now embrace the nightfall. Even the Great Spirit will soon sleep."
— Makuta Teridax, Legends of Metru Nui
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Mata Nui crashes into Aqua Magna
|Witnesses||Beings all over the Matoran Universe|
|Time||1,001 years ago|
|Actions||Metru Nui destroyed, inner Pit broken open, Voya Nui separated from the Southern Continent, Pit Mutagen created, Giant Waterfall and Swamp of Secrets created, Karda Nui recolonized by Av-Matoran, Mata Nui created and vitalized, miscellaneous other structures destroyed|
The Great Cataclysm or Great Shadow, known as the Fall by the Av-Matoran of Karda Nui, was a disaster that wreaked havoc across the entire Matoran Universe. It occurred when the Great Spirit Mata Nui was rendered comatose by a virus created by Makuta Kojol under the orders of Makuta Teridax. The slumbering Great Spirit plummeted from his position over Aqua Magna and struck the celestial body, resulting in a massive earthquake and widespread devastation within the Matoran Universe.
Over 80,000 years ago, the Barraki tried to revolt against Mata Nui and seize power over the Matoran Universe. While the Barraki were stopped by Makuta Teridax and later banished to the Pit, their efforts inspired the Makuta; Teridax realized that he himself could conquer the universe and crafted an elaborate plan by which he might do so. Armed with information regarding the nature of the universe that Mutran gained from Tren Krom, Teridax had Makuta Kojol develop a virus and infected the Great Spirit Robot with it 1,300 years ago. Despite the Toa Metru's best efforts, 1,001 years ago Teridax gathered up the Matoran population of Metru Nui, placed the Matoran into memory-wiping Matoran Spheres, and absorbed energy from the city's power plant. At the same time, the virus rendered Mata Nui unconscious, and the Great Spirit plummeted into the sea of Aqua Magna.
Quakes caused by Mata Nui's crash landing combined with energy spikes caused by Teridax's absorption of Metru Nui's power greatly damaged Metru Nui's buildings and infrastructure. Most notably, the city's Archives suffered critical structural damage and many of the Rahi imprisoned within managed to escape.
The quakes also allowed the Pit's prisoners, including the six Barraki, to escape from the Great Spirit Robot out into the Black Water of Aqua Magna. There, radiation emitted from energy sources within the Great Spirit Robot interacted with Aqua Magna's sea water to produce a mutagenic substance. This Pit Mutagen transformed the escapees into water breathers.
The Great Cataclysm also dislodged the Voya Nui region of the Southern Continent from its surrounding landmass. Voya Nui punched a hole both through the dome in which it lay and through the Great Spirit Robot's chest before it came to rest as a floating island on Aqua Magna. The Giant Waterfall and Swamp of Secrets formed as Pit Mutagen poured in through the gash in the robot's armor and coalesced on the ground of Karda Nui. The quakes also dislodged stalactites from the Karda Nui's ceiling; these impacted in the newly-created Swamp of Secrets. The Av-Matoran, who had once lived in caves above Karda Nui, fell into Karda Nui with the stalactites and established villages upon them.
When Mata Nui crash-landed on Aqua Magna, the Great Spirit Robot's camouflage system was accidentally triggered, creating the island of Mata Nui. Pipes inside the robot's head leaked Energized Protodermis that spurred plant growth and created the island's diverse climates.
Much of the damage the Cataclysm caused was not reversed for the millennium that Mata Nui remained comatose. Only a small number of structures and objects were repaired by those willing to do the work. Many buildings of Metru Nui, as well as other structures, remained in disrepair for years as no one lived there to fix them.
One thousand years after the Great Cataclysm, the Toa Nuva were sent to retrieve the Staff of Artakha, which possesses restorative properties. Although the Toa failed their mission, Botar eventually teleported to the Black Water and recovered the staff from Brutaka. Afterwards, the Toa Nuva were teleported to a chamber on the island of Daxia where they witnessed the staff's use. It reversed much of the damage caused by the Great Cataclysm, although it did not repair Karda Nui as it could not penetrate its dome's shields.
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