Anshar closed the cockpit on the lone remaining Z-95. He had set it aside for his personal use, knowing that he would be the last one to leave the Shadow Academy. Everyone had finally left and everything from books and artifacts to bed sheets had been stripped from the institution. The most important items were on board the Academy vessels, but the clans had gotten their fair share of things. Anshar knew that most of it was gone for good, but so long as he got the texts and artifacts back, that was all that mattered. As he took off, Anshar saw his sensors indicate that Dranik had ordered the Shadow Academy fleet to jump to hyperspace, heading towards the pre-determined rendezvous point. Anshar set the Z-95 to hover over the Academy, knowing that one push of a button would send the institution, and indeed the cliffs into which it was built, crashing into the sea below.
On the other hand, the Brotherhood would undoubtedly try to return, perhaps even in Anshar’s lifetime. There was nothing of value left in the Academy and Anshar would loathe destroying what he had worked so hard to build and maintain. Anshar took out a small datapad and entered a new code, overriding the self destruct. He entered a new command and, after one final mental check, he pushed the button. Watching, he saw every light at the Academy turn off and heavy metal sheets slide down over every window and door. Not a single power source now ran in the building. The Shadow Academy sat silently atop the cliffs, complimented by the approaching night and, Anshar noted, one of Lyspair’s rare rainstorms. As much as he would have liked to, as much as he had done it before, Anshar could not watch this storm come in.
Taking the Z-95 into a climb, Anshar finally got a good look at the Yuuzhan Vong enemies. He had not had the experience of facing them in combat, and yet they had almost killed him just the same. Anshar felt a twinge of pain in his knee, but he pushed it out of his mind. For now, he had to go, as much as he hated the bitter taste of the retreat. But, he was outnumbered and he was in an outdated fighter. Krath Master or not, he stood no chance. Plotting his course, Anshar sped away, noting that the rest of the Brotherhood was using the destruction of the Autarch as their avenue of escape as well. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but a bitter taste was better than the grave. Of that much, he was certain. Behind him, Lyspair dwindled and upon it the fortress that had been the Shadow Academy.
Sardonically, Anshar noted that the Shadow Academy had not been destroyed during his tenure as Headmaster. It had just changed locations. What condition the now empty building would be in, should they ever return, he had no idea. Of course, he had no idea where the new location would be, either. For now, it rested with Dranik and the fleet.
* * * * *
Dranik stood on the bridge of the Sirona, now the de facto flagship of the Shadow Academy fleet, if it could be called that. He now understood how the Rebellion had done it for so long. Two corvettes, two militarized freighters, and a hodgepodge assortment of shuttles and outdated fighter craft all sat huddled together.
“Sir,” called Dac Pola, one of the Academy’s long serving and loyal non-Force users. “I’m detecting a ship exiting hyperspace. What in the hell?!” Dranik’s attention was drawn to the new ship that had exited hyperspace. It looked like a star destroyer, but it was smoother and had a wider point on the front. It definitely wasn’t Yuuzhan Vong. “Sir, we’re being hailed. It’s the Headmaster.”
“Open the channel,” ordered Dranik. When the channel was opened, he spoke again. “About time you got here. And what the hell is that thing?”
“Nice to see you too, Dranik,” replied Anshar. “Sarin sent me a message and asked me to take a little detour. When I got there, this thing was waiting. I’ll explain more later, but for now, get those fighters and shuttles to my hanger.”
“Fine,” said Dranik. He cut the channel and began to give orders.
Two hours later, Dranik found himself sitting in Anshar’s private quarters on board the new ship. As always, Anshar’s quarters were quite spartan, but they were vastly different from those at the Shadow Academy on Lyspair.
“So, what do you think?” asked Anshar, entering the room. He had been personally directing the storage of the Dark Vault materials and it was only now that Dranik saw the cane and the still bandaged knee. Anshar had been lucky if that was all that would last permanently.
“I’m more interested in where the hell this thing came from,” replied Dranik. “And where was it during that whole party over Antei?”
“That is something that Sarin will have to answer,” said Anshar, an edge to his voice. Dranik could tell that he was not happy, even with the new ship. “For now, though, this is the new Shadow Academy flagship, as well as the Shadow Academy.”
“That’s right; the Academy is now mobile,” replied Anshar. “I suppose the whole Dark Council is really, but this is our ship. They tell me it’s called a Khyron-class dreadnaught.”
“And you don’t like any of it one bit, do you?” asked Dranik.
“Of course not,” said Anshar. “Sarin and the Star Chamber have a lot of explaining to do and I’m sure I’ll have to take a number to talk to Sarin. As for the Star Chamber, well, I doubt they’ll say anything. But, for now, we’ll have to make do. We’ll need skeleton crews on the corvettes and failed initiates are going to have to be converted into the new ship’s crew. It’s really nothing new; we just have something new to work with.” Neither one had to mention that the loss of the Mnemosyne had cost them a lot of talented crew members.
“So, what do we name this thing?” asked Dranik.
“We are strangers to the galaxy,” replied Anshar. This was true, as for so long, the Brotherhood had remained tucked behind its curtain. “We teach strange things, the likes of which many in the galaxy can hardly fathom. I’ve named it the Arcanum.” Dranik nodded.
Here they stood, on board a new ship and a new Shadow Academy, just drifting through space.