The Most High Academe, sometimes shortened to simply High Academe, was the foremost scholar of Sanctaphrax and, hundreds of years later, of any federation of learning institutions, most notably the Great Glade Academy and the Sumpwood Bridge Academy.
The earliest Most High Academe in the Edge to be described in detail was Linius Pallitax, father of Maris. He died from wounds caused by a fire, started by the Gloamglozer he created in the Ancient Laboratory. After he died, the Professors of Light and Darkness, who were the Next-Most High Academes when Linius was alive shared the title of Most High Academe. They were later replaced by Vilnix Pompolnius, the Professor of Darknesses's former protege. He was a Raintaster and introduced the world to Phraxdust, a water-purifying substance. However, Vilnix's crooked ties to the League of Free Merchants and desecration of the stormphrax nearly destroyed Sanctaphrax. When Twig returned with stormphrax and the truth about Vilnix came to light, he tried to flee from an angry mob, but ran right into a trap set by the Leagues and plummeted off Sanctaphrax, falling to his death.
The Professor of Darkness then resumed his old position of Most High Academe (the Professor of Light had died in the Mire) but when the great rock of Sanctaphrax flew away to clear the path of the Mother Storm, he grabbed onto the Anchor Chain in desperation and sailed into Open Sky along with the great floating city. Moments before, however, the Professor had given the Great Seal of Office to Cowlquape Pentephraxis, Twig's apprentice, making him the new Most High Academe. However, Vox Verlix imprisoned Cowlquape in the Tower of Night on the New Sanctaphrax rock, and usurped the title of Most High Academe, with Amberfuce as his Chancellor. Vox Verlix was later exiled from New Sanctaphrax, and his title held no real power. Orbix Xaxis held the title of Most High Guardian of Night, a perversion of the High Academe's duties of office. Cowlquape later was rescued by Twig and Rook. Later on, Vox died during the Dark Maelstrom he created, which also destroyed Undertown, New Sanctaphrax, and the surrounding area. With both Sanctaphrax gone and New Sanctaphrax destroyed, Cowlquape became Most High Academe of the Free Glades.
The Most High Academe was the head of state and government in Sanctaphrax. Elected by the more powerful professors, the Most High Academe had the power to both make and enforce laws in the floating city. The Most High Academe also fulfilled the role of Sanctaphrax's ceremonial leader, although it was the Next-Most High Academe who performed the Treasury Day ceremonies, for historical reasons.
Symbols of Office
The Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax was marked out by the Great Seal of Office he wore on a chain around his neck. The seal took the form of an eleven-pointed star engraved with a pattern of circles and lightning bolts, a design which appeared frequently in the iconography of Sanctaphrax.
Traditionally, the Most High Academe lived in the Palace of Lights, a magnificent building with coloured glass windows. However, during the time of the Great Purges, as Sky-Scholarship took over Sanctaphrax, larger, more magnificent buildings were constructed. Since the Palace of Lights was eclipsed by the College of Cloud nextdoor, each successive Most High Academe opted to live in the school of his own faculty. Eventually, Linius Pallitax decided to return to the traditional residence when he was appointed Most High Academe. By this time, the Palace of Lights was known as the Palace of Shadows, since all the taller buildings around it cut out almost all of its light.
The title of Most High Academe could be passed down in three ways:
- Before dying, the High Academe could decide to hold an election, in which prominent Sanctaphrax academics would vote for a successor
- The previous High Academe could personally choose a successor by bestowing them with the Great Seal of Office. This was how both the Professors of Light and Darkness and Cowlquape Pentephraxis received the position.
- If the High Academe died unexpectedly, he could be succeeded by a member of his school. First in line would be the Dean or High Professor of the school, and the Sub-Dean was second in this order; this was how Seftus Leprix hoped to usurp the position from Linius Pallitax after assassinating him. (Both were members of the School of Mist.)
Notable Most High Academes
- Marborinus Quelt
- Philbus Xant
- Quelve Fundinix
- Unidentified earth-scholar
- Linius Pallitax
- Professors of Light and Darkness
- Vilnix Pompolnius
- Cowlquape Pentephraxis
- Vox Verlix (usurped)