The corridors in the Academy were intentionally dim. Save for the few candelabras scattered about, there was no artificial lighting in many of the passageways that led to the various vaults, libraries, and archives of the Brotherhood. This was to intimidate initiates as they lurked the rooms for tomes, lectures, combat practice, and lore, a way to remind them of the very scope and weight of the power that they intended to dip their fingers into. Even more so, it was to warn more knowledgeable students not to infringe upon rather megalomaniacal territory.
Solus Gar, Praetor to the Headmaster, walked this corridor with only a string of ease dangling from his heart. Even the most skilled, powerful, and malicious of the Sith could feel threatened by the knowledge they still had not obtained. If the goal was unlimited power, then Dark Jedi certainly felt limited by the bolted doors and gates to the vaults. It was a wonder that a student hadn't gone mad yet. And if so, he was probably already dead.
The Praetor was startled to find one great steel door unlocked. He wondered if it was a trick. Perhaps someone to be wary of had breached security. However, he knew of only a few who truly had access to the great Dark Vaults. Obviously, the Dark Lords of the Sith had access, as did the Grand Masters of old. But more importantly than that was that the very mind of this Academy could enter into these treasure troves and attempt to partake in the darker runes of mystery in the galaxy. And Solus knew very well who that mind was.
His fist propped against his saber hilt, he edged his way into the vault and kept his eyes averted from the prizes. The artifacts kept here would make any Sith, Obelisk, or Krath grow rabid, like a dog foaming at the mouth for food. He could see the faint glow of light coming from near the center of the great dark chasm deep in Lyspair's ribcage, the walls sealing away all natural resplendence from the Anteian sky.
She was hunched over one particular holocron, her hands stretched bare around the item's corners. She was dressed simply in a tunic and slacks, nearly naked compared to her ceremonial robes and armor that the students got to see on a daily basis. Moreover, her hair was loose on her scalp, draping her olive face and hard-domed skull with dark, matted tresses. Most disturbing to Solus, as he carefully approached his friend and mentor of many years, was the frozen half smile on the Headmaster's face.
She did not react violently to his voice. Nor did she shudder or yelp in shock. Instead, it was as if she had been expecting him. Solus watched as her fingers curled and uncurled, her shoulders rising and falling with an almost relaxed cadence. She did not look at him. She didn't have to.
"I've seen them," the Epicanthix whispered. "I've seen the secrets of the galaxy."
Above, a Brotherhood ship would have been screeching overhead, but no noise ever made it to the ears of those within the vaults. Ronovi lifted her head from the glow of the holocron. A single strained tear danced on her cheek, falling from dry, red-veined eyes.
"And it's beautiful."
Welcome to another Headmaster report! Posting it in the middle of the month because we all know that the beginning of each month is insanely inundated with reports of every shape, size, and caliber from all leaders of the Brotherhood. So I'm just going to pick a time where the tumbleweeds roll in and hope no one decides to follow my example.
...I'm talking to you, clan and house leaders.
We've got a lot to go over, so let's get a move on.
Applications for Professorships of General Studies and Writing Studies have closed, and the candidates have been reviewed. My Praetor and I were able to pick some very equipped members for the jobs, so thank you to everyone for your varied applications.
We would like to welcome Scelestus (Professor of General Studies) and Xantros (Professor of Writing Studies) to the Shadow Academy staff. Congratulations.
As you've all probably seen, we've worked hard in the past few weeks to bring the SA website and its affiliated pages up to speed. First off, you'll notice that the SA website itself has been tweaked to represent the current Shadow Academy staff. Links that lead to dead sites, character history rules, and Blast from the Past guidelines have all been removed. Contact information at the very bottom of the page has been modified. Wiki articles have been revamped. Most importantly, everything is up to date. Something a lot of Praetor applicants addressed in their e-mails to me.
That doesn't mean there still won't be changes to the SA aesthetics. Arion Sunrider has been kind enough to provide his coding skills to present a new functionality template for the main Academy website. Solus will be assisting him in the visuals of the new Shadow Academy interface. These won't be enormous changes to the way the site looks, but it'll allow us to give you a sleeker, shinier looking page to work off of.
Finally - perhaps one of the coolest things we've been able to accomplish technically - editing and creating courses and course content can now be managed on the Shadow Academy administration system. Before that, staff with FTP access had to manually go into the system and edit the exams in html. Re-enter Arion, who began a process of automating course edits and creations directly from the Medusa page. After much deliberation and work, Arion and Windos managed to make the edits appearing in the backend finally appear on the frontend - the SA site. Meaning now without FTP access, all staff can directly manage exams.
So those new exams you suggested that would normally take forever to add or edit? Now we can add and edit them with a lot more ease. That is pretty damn awesomesauce, so be sure to thank Arion and Windos for all their sweat and toil.
While the quest for full direct management of the Shadow Academy continues, making the need for FTP access null and void; the course audit can now fully begin. Given that now our departments are fully staffed, Solus and I have already begun the process of editing current exams so that they are no longer outdated or riddled with lousy, overly specific answer keys. We have already begun an audit of the General Studies department, the Philosophy department, and the Clan History department. Solus also plans to carry out a full audit of the General History department.
While at the moment we are not looking for volunteers, be on the look-out for any news posts where I may ask for a bit of assistance on those fronts.
All right, enough of the technical gibberish. You want to hear the good stuff. Well, it's time to reveal to the public our first big project. While new exams are common, we intend to introduce a brand new, innovative department to the Shadow Academy. This will be the first step to my long-term goal for the integration of the Shadow Academy into all assets of Brotherhood proceedings.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Shadow Academy Debate League.
By the end of April, the first of two exams will be introduced to the whole of the Brotherhood. Both of these courses are titled, "Debate I: Argumentation" and "Debate II: Refutation." These exams will replace IRC Basics and Wiki Basics as requisites for the Dark Sage in Law. We will also be introducing a Dark Sage in Critical Thinking, which, akin to the Dark Sage in Writing, will be a lesson-based ten week long course emphasizing in logic, argumentation, and debate. Most exciting, however, will be the introduction of actual Debate League competitions, which will allow DBers to assemble debate teams and argue over a specific Brotherhood/Star Wars-related policy or idea.
Why are we pushing so hard for this? First of all, we'd like to point out the success of the single debate event in the Tenth Great Jedi War. In at least one unit, members eager to participate had to be turned away in order to create a smaller, more seamless sequence of debate. The concept of debate is fun and it's exciting to a lot of members new and old, and it's certainly something to try out and cut your teeth on. Second of all, as we mentor our new members and try to mold them into better, stronger leaders, we have to remember the importance of debate. Given the scope of decision-making, mediation, and conflict resolution necessary within our units, it is extremely beneficial to have our leaders skilled in argumentation and rhetoric. Not only would the Shadow Academy Debate League serve to be a fun and new outlet in the Brotherhood, but it would also be incredibly helpful to the growth of our leadership and our future membership.
The Shadow Academy Debate League, like I said, is only the first step in allowing the Shadow Academy to become more involved in all facets of the Brotherhood. In my first report, I mentioned a stronger incorporation of gaming, team writing, and storytelling. I also mentioned "games." That's still in the works, people, so expect some very interesting developments in the next few months.
And of course, to wrap this up, something Star Warsy and educational!
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