- "We have already found a powerful new leader, a great one but we also need our own group of Dark Jedi Knights, Imperial Jedi, who will cement our factions together and give us will to defeat the wicked and unlawful government of the New Republic and bring about the Second Imperium."
- "This is an austere station. We don't bother with luxury accommodations like your jungle academy. However, we have made sure that you each have a private chamber so you can conduct your meditation exercises, practice your assignments and concentrate on developing your Force skills."
- ―Tamith Kai
The Shadow Academy was built in a torus-shaped battlestation that featured massive observation and docking towers on one side. In the event that the Shadow Academy needed to defend itself, or function as a battle platform, its perimeter was ringed with gun emplacements that pointed out in all directions. Those guns were seen as a last resort and used only rarely because the Shadow Academy was equipped with a cloaking device that allowed it to remain hidden. The torus was also ringed with engines, allowing it to maneuver and accelerate to hyperspace if it needed to serve as a transport or escape if it had been discovered.
The Shadow Academy was equipped to train a new generation of Dark Jedi, who were what the Great Leader of the Second Imperium (being Emperor Palpatine) believed were needed to defeat the Republic. They would also be needed to hold together the new Empire that would rise from the ashes of the destroyed Republic.
The Shadow Academy housed thousands of explosives that could be detonated from afar. For if Brakiss failed in his endeavor to raise an order of Dark Jedi, or if he were to prove rebellious, the Great Leader would need a means to punish him and remove any threat that his Dark Jedi might pose to him.
The hallways of the Shadow Academy were, by and large, monochromatic and institutional. The walls were interrupted only by the occasional computer terminal or doors marked with stenciled labels. The only sounds that one might hear in the hallways were status reports, chronometers that chimed at each quarter hour.
The quarters of Shadow Academy students were cubical, stark, bare-walled rooms. Students were confined to these rooms and ordered to rest or meditate during a specified sleep period. The decision to keep the quarters of students free of normal comforts may have been made by Tamith Kai, since she believed that adversity and deprivation were necessity to honing one's skills.
Dozens of Shadow Academy students would endure Brakiss's various lectures in a sparse room that featured a series of narrow, backless benches.
Brakiss's office contained a form-chair and a long desk with a recording pad. Brakiss would use the recording pad to store and review the day's records, as well as make daily reports to the Great Leader. The office's walls, which were lined with thick, black, transparisteel contained glowing holographic images of cosmic violence such as:
- One of Nkllon's lavafalls.
- One of the exploding suns of the Denarii Nova.
- The core of the Cauldron Nebula.
- The Graveyard of Alderaan.
Brakiss would attempt to harden his inner strength by using Force techniques to meditate and absorb the events depicted by the holograms. He felt they were beautiful in a way, depicting unlimited power, whether it was man-made or resided in nature.
The Shadow Academy featured a number of training chambers which were used by students to hone their fighting skills. Among these were a chamber equipped with a computer sensor grid which allowed for the projection of holo-remotes and holoshrouds upon its users.
Another chamber, used to test their powers contained a number of openings from which projectiles were hurled. A few blindfolded students would stay in the chamber, with only wooden sticks to defend themselves. Another student would have control of a number of remotes powerful enough to destroy any of the projectiles. This student would sit in the relative safety of an observation room. The program for this drill had three difficulty levels: The first would hurl hard balls at the students; the second would throw rocks at them; the third would throw knives. This drill claimed the lives of at least six students at the Shadow Academy.
The Shadow Academy contained at least one torture chamber. To any Shadow Academy recruit, it would seem like an empty, unassuming room at first, but the emptiness hid the incredible danger that the room contained. A transparisteel panel separated this chamber from the observation room, which contained controls for nearly all of the variables in the chamber that could be manipulated.
Those inside the chamber were exposed to flashing lights, and temperature extremes. The walls contained spray nozzles capable of discharging near-freezing water at extremely high pressure. The ceiling contained a hatch through which a hardened sonic generator could be dropped, and thus high-pitched, ear-piercing sounds were introduced to the chamber.
The instructor observing the torture, typically Tamith Kai, would inform the recruit inside the chamber that the only way to make all of the unpleasantness inside the chamber stop would be to smash the sonic generator. The sonic generator was incredibly heavy and reinforced, so the only way that one could destroy would be if he called upon the dark side of the Force to strengthen himself.
The Shadow Academy's docking bays allowed it receive, house, and launch various spacecraft. A typical docking bay was lined with flashing yellow lights to guide craft in and out of the space station.
The walls of the docking bays were covered with a reflective durasteel. Embedded in the wall opposite of the opening of a docking bay was the observation chamber from which one could open or close the doors of the docking bay. The Shadow Academy's main docking bay held standard Imperial vehicles including TIE/ln starfighters, TIE/sa bombers, GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats, Imperial Assault Shuttles and Battle Platforms.
Following his nearly fatal battle with Luke Skywalker on Telti and the defeat of Kueller, Brakiss joined the so-called "Second Imperium" which was led by the mysterious Great Leader of the Second Imperium. Since the Imperium needed its own cadre of Dark Jedi to counter those of Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4, Brakiss was recruited for that purpose.
He used funds appropriated by the Imperium to construct a cloaked space station called the Shadow Academy to serve as a mobile academy for his Dark Jedi. It was Brakiss' hopes that these Dark Jedi would help maintain order across the faltering remnants of the Empire. In conjunction with a group of exiled Nightsisters led by Tamith Kai, Brakiss began recruiting youths. Those who were found to be Force-sensitive became Dark Jedi Knights while those who weren't became Stormtroopers and TIE pilots. The Dark Jedi were supplied with lightsabers mass-produced at the Academy.
In 23 ABY, Qorl joined the Shadow Academy having escaped from Yavin 4 after nearly two decades of eking out a living in the jungle moon. Qorl was placed in charge of the growing starfighter corps of the Second Imperium. He also revealed that Luke Skywalker's Jedi Praxeum was now training a young generation of Jedi Knights who could be bent to serve the Second Imperium.
Thus, a bold plan to kidnap trainees from the Jedi Academy was hatched. During a raid on GemDiver Station which orbited the nearby gas giant of Yavin, the Shadow Academy used a small fleet consisting of a modified assault shuttle and four GAT-12 Skipray Blastboats to kidnap the Solo twins and their Wookiee classmate Lowbacca, as well as Em Teedee. It came to be a disaster because they proved to be too strong to be indoctrinated. They later escaped with the help of Skywalker and another trainee Tenel Ka Djo. Plans to abduct more trainees from the Praxeum were scuttled.
Following that, Brakiss maneuvered the Shadow Academy close to the Republic capital of Coruscant so that they could launch attacks on supply ships carrying weapons and hyperdrives. This also gave them the opportunity to gather more recruits. Thus, agents were sent to the lower levels of the planet-wide metropolis to recruit the dregs of galactic society on the promise of giving them a better life. Among these were the orphaned street urchin Zekk and the street gang known as the Lost Ones.
However, it was not long before the Academy's presence was discovered. The Solo twins, along with Lowbacca and Chewbacca, used the orbiting solar mirrors to burn out the Academy's cloaking devices, thus exposing it to the defending Republic forces. However, the Shadow Academy managed to jump into hyperspace and evaded capture.
Soon, Zekk—who had been discovered to be Force-sensitive—became the Darkest Knight of the Academy after slaying Vilas. He was then placed in charge of a task force which raided Thikkiiana City, a major city on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk which was an important computer center. However, when faced with the prospect of killing Jaina, he could not do so. Instead he warned her that the Jedi Praxeum was the Second Imperium's next target.
Meanwhile, the Great Leader, who had earlier revealed himself to be yet another clone of Palpatine, arrived at the Shadow Academy in a massive repulsorlift isolation chamber. He refused even to see Brakiss and was attended and represented by four Imperial Royal Guards. This caused Brakiss to be concerned about the Emperor's health. Later, from his isolation chamber, a hologram of Palpatine prompted Brakiss to launch an assault against the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin 4.
At first the battle went as planned before the arrival of the Republic fleet under Admiral Ackbar. Brakiss, defying his master, journeyed down to the jungle moon to be defeated in a lightsaber duel with Skywalker. Having made it back to the space station, Brakiss made a beeline for the isolation chamber and demanded to see the Emperor. However, he was blocked by two of the Royal Guards. Enraged and giving in to his anger, Brakiss cut them down with his lightsaber and then entered the chamber.
There, he discovered a third Royal Guard working on a bank of controls, computer screens and holographic generators and realized that Palpatine had never returned. In reality, the Royal Guards had created this illusion so that they could control the Second Imperium. Unfortunately for Brakiss, the fourth guard used the override controls to activate the Shadow Academy's self-destruct systems, destroying the Shadow Academy and killing all aboard.
- Young Jedi Knights: Shadow Academy (First appearance)
- Young Jedi Knights: The Lost Ones
- Young Jedi Knights: Lightsabers
- Young Jedi Knights: Darkest Knight
- Young Jedi Knights: Jedi Under Siege
- Young Jedi Knights: Shards of Alderaan (Mentioned only)
- Young Jedi Knights: Diversity Alliance (Mentioned only)
- Edge of Victory I: Conquest (Mentioned only)
- Star by Star (Mentioned only)
- Dark Journey (Mentioned only)
- Traitor (Mentioned only)
- Destiny's Way (Mentioned only)
- Fury (Mentioned only)
- Invincible (Appears in flashback(s))
- The Essential Chronology
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- The New Jedi Order Sourcebook
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- The New Essential Chronology
- Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force
- Jedi Academy Training Manual
- "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Nightsisters"—Star Wars Insider 122