11 January 2009
Headmaster Report #21
Come tomorrow, January 12th, 2009, I will have been Headmaster of the Shadow Academy for one year. How have we been doing? Keep reading and you'll find not only a one year status update, but some major announcements, including the release of two new courses, a big staff position opening up, and our plans for the coming year. Also, first on the list, is the finale of The Zarente Chronicles. For the time being, this will be the last SA fictional update, at least until after the Great Jedi War.
The Zarente Chronicles: Part V
_Renth, Capital City
Planet Zarente in the Outer Rim_
Five black transports glided slowly through the streets, flanked by a large tank. Citizens brave enough to venture out at night ducked into the shadows while security details stopped and watched the tank painted with the seal of the Queen. Entering the courtyard of Varik Citadel, three things happened nearly simultaneously. First, the captain of the Queen's guard had a sudden moment of unease, and ordered his troops to stay alert. Next, a shield of purple appeared in front of the tank's cannon as it fired a blast towards the citadel, rubble falling into the courtyard. Moments after the blast, the transports opened to reveal the freedom fighters, fully armed and ready. The battle had begun.
Inside the citadel, eight rebels led by Dacien and Sephi slipped through the halls undetected. They eased through the antechambers leading into the throne room, the sides decorated with large bronze busts of Varik leaders long gone. Their dynasty was ancient, but it would end tonight.
They stopped outside the throne room, and Dacien and Sephi exchanged quick looks before nodding and bursting in. Blaster fire erupted from hordes of sentinel droids, taking out three of the rebels before they had even entered the room. Dacien's lightsaber twirled in his hands, deflecting shot after shot, but these droids were not his problem. He jumped through the air, landing among three droids that he quickly disarmed. The Dark Jedi looked around the chamber, searching for his target, and then he found her.
Standing beside her throne, the Queen watched the battle curiously, her overconfidence blaring. Her eyes caught Dacien's, and anger flashed across her face before she turned. Not fast enough, however, as Dacien reached out, grabbing her with the Force and throwing her back into her chair. He jumped over, landing inches away, lightsaber to her neck, "I think it's time you gave me what I came for."
Her anger and fear turned to instant defiance, "You think you can just march in here and take what you want? We do not bend so easily. The Varik Dynasty has survived for thousands of years."
"And it will end tonight," Dacien spoke. He reached out to her mind with the Force, digging through her, and she was helpless to stop it. Dacien lost track of time, but eventually the battle moved out of the throne room, but he remained with the Queen. An hour went by, and then she broke, her mind barely intact. She led Dacien into a room hidden behind the throne, and there, on a pedestal, lay his prize. Sephi returned for the Queen, but the Dark Jedi remained, reaching towards the holocron.
He held on to it, closing his eyes and reaching out in the Force, touching it, surrounding it, becoming it. The room filled with the energy of the Dark Side, and then...
From the throne room, Sephi and the Queen looked up as an explosion lifted the throne into the air. Dust filled the room as Dacien stepped into view, his robes scorched, his eyes a maelstrom of fury. Pieces of the holocron lay broken in his hand, "It's a fake! A damn fake!"
He leaped forward, lightsaber instantly in his hand. Sephi moved to stop him, but he flicked his wrist and sent her flying across the room into one of the many columns. He landed in front of the Queen, pinning her against the wall with his lightsaber centimeters from her throat, "Where is it? Tell me!!"
The fear in her voice was obvious as she stammered, "I don't know, I swear! I always thought that it was real. Please, don't..."
She was cut short as Dacien plunged his lightsaber forward, letting her body fall limp to the floor. He turned to Sephi, who looked at him with nothing but fear, "You are not my problem," he said, and then left the room.
_Office of the Headmaster
Shadow Academy Flagship, the Arcanum
Somewhere in the Inner Core_
"You have failed me," Headmaster Aabsdu di Plagia Dupar stated blankly to his Praetor, Dacien. He had returned from his mission only hours earlier, but without that which he had left searching for. The disapproval in the Headmaster's voice was blatant. Dacien said nothing, but only kept his head bowed.
"I gave you an assignment, and you will complete that assignment," Aabsdu looked down at the various reports on his desk before turning back to Dacien, "Word has it that there are plans to return to Antei, and Lyspair. If we do, the battle will be tough. The Shadow Academy must be strong enough."
Dacien finally looked up at his long time friend and colleague, but Aabsdu was looking somewhere else, "That is why I am removing you from your position as Praetor to the Headmaster. Your service as been exemplary, but you are needed in other ways now. I cannot have you bogged down by political red tape and duties."
"If that is your will," was all Dacien said.
"Continue your search for this holocron," Aabsdu continued, "the secrets it contains would fuel our research for years." Now he looked back to Dacien, eye to eye, "But when the time comes, and I feel that it will, you know where you are needed. We will retake Lyspair."
Dacien bowed slightly before turning and walking out of the room. Aabsdu watched him leave, thinking about the future of the Dark Brotherhood, the Shadow Academy, and him. Dark times lay ahead, but the Shadow Academy would be ready for them."
Elsewhere on the Arcanum
The Rodian grasped at his throat in vain and then collapsed to the floor, lifeless. A figure stood over him, regarding the fallen Knight with seeming disinterest. From behind a tribal-like mask, eyes glittered coldly, "Wrong place at the wrong time, my friend," he said as he turned, unobserved by the Dark Jedi aboard the Arcanum, and looked back at his weak student.
"So the Praetor survived," the figure rasped, "Perhaps we aimed too high. So be it," he paused, looking at the student for a moment before continuing, "We will move forward regardless."
"Yes, master," the ensign bowed and hurried off. Behind the mysterious tribal mask, the dark eyes turned back, as they so often did, to the stars. Dark times lay ahead for Headmaster Dupar and his Shadow Academy, very dark times.
One Year Status Report
Position of EP changed hands fifteen times
Jac coded the database to archive exam scores; Dacien and I have been gradually adding old scores manually
Removal of the grandfathering rule for Dark Side Degrees
Created SA Trivia Code of Conduct.... then closed SA Trivia
Major Capital Starship/Astronomy course updates
Added a Mac OS section to IRC Basics
Released Dark Savant: Leadership and Communication degree
Closed the AIM, MSN, and ICQ courses
Merged Test of Agility and Test of Endurance into the Test of Power
Created Blast from the Past Week. Ran it twice with Marksmanship (thirty passings) and Safe Computing (thirteen passings)
Released Hand-to-Hand Combat, written by Muz
Closed the Society of Envoys
Bumped rank requirement for SoI to Protector
Created Monthly Journeymen Competitions
Ran the 2008 SA Course Audit, lots of edits and improvements
Released Freighters and Transports, written by Anshar
Released Dark Maven: Flight degree
Gradual rewrites and updates to SA-related Wiki pages
Taigikori and Zandro earned Oberst's Dark Sage: Writing degree
Released Dark Savant: Writing and Philosophy degree
Courses Submitted: 2296
Courses Passed: 2055 (Shardara of Tarentum passed the 2000th course, ACC Initiates on Dec. 20)
Courses Failed: 220
Degrees Awarded: 157
Dossiers Activated: 660
Advancement Reports Taken: 80
Histories Denied: 132
Scrolls of Indoctrination Awarded: 49
--Clans are a fundamental unit of organization in the Dark Brotherhood, but there is more to a clan than the database roster and leaders. Each of the Brotherhood's clans have unique lore, histories, command structures. All things that set them apart from the other clans. Why is it important to learn these things? First, you should never judge a book by its cover. Second, though, is the simple fun of the Star Wars universe and how creative it can be. Thus, on my one year mark as Headmaster, I announce the release of two new courses to the Shadow Academy: Clan Naga Sadow and Clan Arcona History! Get to know how these clans originated and grew, how they have changed or stayed the same. It isn't only useful to members of these two clans, but also to the rest of the Brotherhood. After all, you should always know your enemy. Course notes can be found here for Clan Naga Sadow History and Clan Arcona History, as well as in the important links section below.
--As a gift to the Shadow Academy staff, a handful of awards have gone out to all of the EPs and Magistrates we have. Tons of Scrolls of Foundation were awarded, as well as some Anteian and Dark Crosses. Congrats also to Taigikori and Kalak, who both received Steel Crosses for their work as Magistrates. The SA Staff is awesome, so they deserve all of it.
Praetor to the Headmaster
--Sith Warlord Dacien Victae di Plagia has been Praetor to the Headmaster for a little under one and a half years now. In that time, his dedication and service has been extreme, it would be hard to find something that doesn't have his fingerprints on it. Also in that time, in part due to his involvement in the Shadow Academy, he has been promoted to Battlelord and then Warlord and awarded a Sapphire Blade and three Seals of Loyalty. Also, due to his exemplary service record, I have awarded Dacien with the Dark Maven: Service, Dark Savant: Service, and Dark Sage: Service degree. Dacien is awesome; a role model, an amazing coder, among other things. With Dacien, the Shadow Academy site would be nowhere coding-wise. As such, I'm proud to award Dacien with an Amethyst Kukri for all of his hard work and dedication to the Shadow Academy.
And yet, the Brotherhood is not Dacien's life. He is in college, on a path towards success, no doubt, and because of this his time has been cut dramatically lately. As such, he has decided to step down as Praetor to the Headmaster. He will be remaining as a Magistrate to help out with coding, but nonetheless my right hand seat is now empty.
--The Praetor to the Headmaster serves a number of important roles. First and foremost, the Praetor is the Headmaster's closest advisor and is consulted on every matter of importance to the Shadow Academy. Often the Praetor is responsible for developing and running projects with little to no guidance from the Headmaster; the Praetor must also be able to manage magistrates and eclectic pedagogues. A good Praetor will have the confidence to speak for the Headmaster in most situations and the competence to be right. Here is a more specific list of attributes:
-Excellent English writing ability and comprehension
-HTML and CSS knowledge
-Good judgement and initiative
-Previous leadership experience (perferrably house summit or higher)
-Ability to work well with Headmaster Dupar
-32 hour email turnaround
-Enjoyment of working on SA-related projects, sometimes not the most fun
-P:HM + summit positions = doesn't work; house summit are handled case-by-case, so by no means let this stop you from applying, but you cannot be Praetor and PCON/CON, it's just too much
-Advanced coding knowledge, including PHP
-Experience in the Shadow Academy through staff positions
--Praetor to the Headmaster is a pretty big position filled with projects, and as a leader of the Shadow Academy you have a large staff under you to keep in contact with, but it has some pretty nice rewards. Look at Dacien, he was promoted twice during his term. The purpose of the position, besides providing guidance and support, though, is as a learning position for those who one day see themselves as possible Headmasters. This path is not a guarantee, but experience counts for a lot.
In your application, obviously, provide some background information. Your character, leadership experience, particularly any involvement with the Shadow Academy, the usual application information. Also include your thoughts on the current state of the Academy, where it is going, where you would like to see it go, what ideas you have to make things better. Do you have thoughts on fictional updates? competitions? courses? degrees? List them all here. In the end, tell us why you would make a good Praetor, what is your motive to be dedicated to not only the Academy, but the foundation for new Brotherhood recruits? Applications are due by January 31st, email them to myself ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]) and Dacien Victae ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]). At that time, finalists will be decided upon, and we'll go from there. Do not expect a decision until after the GJW, however. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to inquire.
The Coming Year: 2009
--Will there be new courses? Of course there will! We have tons of new courses being worked on, but which ones can you expect to be released in 2009? First, there will be the long-awaited course that has been finished since September and constantly pushed back. After that, expect another clan history course and three advanced studies courses dealing with the DJBWiki, Lightsaber Techniques, and the Chamber of Justice.
--Among new courses, we also plan on going through with complete revamps, in many ways starting from scratch, of DB Basics and ACC Initiates. We'll be updating them to include new and old information, plus making them easier to understand and overall more useful.
--Starting this summer, also expect to see the gradual reintroduction of programming courses, starting with revamped HTML courses, into the Shadow Academy. Depending on how many are actually released, these will eventually climax into new programming degrees.
--With new courses comes new degrees. In the next year expect to see two new Dark Mavens, a new Dark Savant, and a new Dark Sage.
--Orv will be working closely with the Shadow Academy in implementing many coding improvements to the website. Along with the basic recoding of the site in all PHP, also look for automation of the SA Staff page, a list of answers to be included on the Course Submitted Page, and many other improvements!
Featured Course of the Report
In light of my one year as Headmaster, the featured course for this special report is...... all of them! No one course is more important than the others. They hold hold something unique and intuitive. What are some of my favorites? DB Basics, Astronomy, Capital Starship Studies, and all five of the history courses, but there are plenty more out there. Why take courses? For one, they all go towards a Dark Side Degree, be it a Dark Maven or Dark Savant. Above all else, though, Shadow Academy courses are just interesting. No one can know everything there is to know about Star Wars, despite some trying. Courses teach us history, order lore, aspects of Star Wars technology, or maybe just how to be a better run-on writer, but they all hold something useful to the everyday Dark Brotherhood member and Star Wars fan. If you keep taking courses, we'll keep making new ones.
I've been Headmaster for one year!
Over 2000 courses passed in my first year as Headmaster!
Clan Naga Sadow/Clan Arcona History released!
Lots of awards go out to SA Staff! AK to Dacien!
Praetor to the Headmaster opened to applications! Due January 31st, 2009!
Tons of stuff coming in 2009!
Sith Warlord Aabsdu di Plagia Dupar
Headmaster of the Brotherhood
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