|Official Name||Redknob Octopus|
|Common Nicknames||Sore Octopus, Szzros-Zllsa|
|Habitat||Waters around Hadaria|
The Redknobed Octopus is a medium-sized octopus with a long history in Hadaria. From the time of the Meraic, this mollusc has swam the waters of the region and is known to many races. Their last point of prominence was when the Essa Empire attempted to use their natural venom sacks as alchemical weapons of war. However, the dominance of the Imperial Fleet and rise of the Maiar in the Chrysant War saved the animal from this oceanic farming. They are also notable as a hermaphroditic species, taking on the roles of male and female only when they need to. Today they are once again common in the waters around Hadaria.
The Redknob Octopus has long been a part of the sea life in Hadaria. Back even in the time of the Meraic, the Tohn Valeer of today shows carvings of the creature prominently alongside other lost aquatic species. The next culture to come into contact with the mollusc were the Slizzar, who respected the creature for its poisonous knobs despite their innocent appearance. They devised methods to trap the animal and to remove the knobs, allowing them to eat the octopus itself if they so chose to. When the Elven Empire arrived, the Slizzar spread this knowledge and inspired the use of the poison in the competitive Elves. The Slizzar also used it on their new Elven toys. After the Elven Empire retreated, the next to come was the Allar. The Slizzar shared their knowledge with this race as well, and the alchemically-inclined Al-Allar took no time before beginning to experiment with the animal’s poisoned knobs. By 200 AC, several substances, mostly medicinal, had been developed but after the rise of Empress Miko Missa the Redknob Octopus was hunted extensively to fuel the deadly alchemy products of her awakening war machine.
The Chrysant War stopped this practice in its tracks as first the Imperial Navy harried fishing vessels but also the emergence of the aggressive Maiar forced Allar fishermen into rivers and only the most shallow waters where the octopus did not roam. Unfortunately for the Maiar, their first attempts to eat the Octopus whole caused an entire School to go belly up, unable to handle the overpowering natural toxins of the creature. Then, the Chrysant War ended and this event, coupled with a lack of Regalian interest in the potential of the animal, has allowed it to flourish once again. Most Maiar have ignored the animal for less hazardous prey, but a rare few of them, known as “Knobeaters” by Regalians and the region’s Allar, developed unique and incredible alien-looking adaptations to feed on this prey almost exclusively. Also, as the Allar’s profile in Regalia rises, the Redknob Octopus appears once again as a prime candidate for military alchemy experimentation. For now, though, the Octopus is free to roam the coral beds and sandy bottoms of Hadaria’s seas free of worry.
The Redknob Octopus has a rather dull appearance, measuring anywhere between four to five feet in diameter between the tips of two opposite sets of arms, of which there are eight. These eight arms vary in individual length and width, but all come to meet underneath the animal’s head while a thin membrane known as the web covers the area closest to the body. These limbs also have suckers located on their interior, allowing for the animal to maneuver with ease. The head itself appears like a sack, the top section bulging and when in a prone position, sagging in behind the animal, holding the creature’s brain. At the back of the head in the “neck” area, is a device known as a funnel followed by a sea of gills on either side just above it. The gills and funnel assist with breathing. However, the opening outward can also be used to expel ink if the Reknob wants to. Laying above this at the front of the head is the Octopus’ two eyes, which are either red or orange. Below that, close to the webbing but found on either side are two ocelli. Below this at the bottom of the creature’s head is its hard beaked mouth, hidden by the web mentioned above that covers the base of the arms.
The unique feature of the Redknob Octopus is the one that gives it its namesake, that being a series of red knobs along their arms and head that stand out even when the creature is trying to disguise itself. They are each filled with the animal’s natural venom, which is also present on the octopus’ beak and can be broken off as if it were its own little sack, though doing so will hurt the octopus. These knobs do not grow back once this has been done. The octopus is also notable for its camouflage abilities, able to mimic rocks, corals and sometimes even sand. However, as previously mentioned, the red knobs still stand out, though it is believed this is on purpose as other predators often keep away from them, most likely aware of their poisonous potential. In their natural state, however, the Octopus is grey or light teal while their suckers are peach or light pink.
The Redknob Octopus is hermaphroditic, possessing the ability to temporarily become either gender to procreate during the mating season. As such, they have no common gender binary since these gender specific features fade within a few months. Their body colorations are also not reflective of where they come from in Hadaria’s waters.
Life Span and Development
The Redknob Octopus has a unique method of reproduction compared to other members of Aloria’s fauna. When mating season comes, Redknob Octopi will start to morph into either males or females while also developing the requires sexual organs. For males, they create a fertility sack which they then give to a chosen female who then takes it to fertilize herself and her eggs inside. The process is possibly one of the most clinical in the animal kingdom, the whole processing lacking intimacy. Once the fertility sack has been used by the female, within three weeks she will lay her eggs on a rocky overhang or crevice before waiting four months for the eggs to develop, which number in the tens of thousands. At this point, the eggs begin to hatch while the adult watches on, often inking or biting animals that get too close. The young, barely the size of a pinhead, then begin to grow and feed on the seabed. Well over half of them will die in their minisculate state and They fully develop into adults within another four months, whereupon they too can produce children. Reknob Octopi live up to three years in the wild but some specimens kept in special tanks by the Allar of the Essa Empire lived until the age of six.
The Redknob Octopus is a predatory animal and acts accordingly. Their diet is made up of crustaceans, small fish and sea snails which they hunt through their camouflaging skin paired with sharp grabbing and biting movements. They have been known to eat carrion when desperate. When faced with other predators such as the Maiar or non-sentient species, the Redknob Octopus rarely attacks them, instead choose to camouflage themselves or remain concealed through slow movement. This rarely provokes a response as they are known to be toxic to even other animals. However, should a Knobeater Maiar or larger predator like a Sweet Water Sea Leopard attack them, they will try to jet away in a thin cloud of ink. If caught, their next action will be to avoid being eaten whole, instead biting their attacker wherever they can. They only rarely get away from these encounters, but when they do, they are usually missing a limb or two which then regrows over a two week period provided the animal lives that long. The Octopus does not treat with other members of its species on any level other than ignorance outside of the mating season. Two or three Redknob Octopi can crawl all over the same piece of carrion with no issues, however, seeing any more than this number means the sea must be disturbed or that it is mating season. To their young, the Octopus is caring but only to a degree. Once the eggs have hatched and gone, the Octopus will return to their normal life.
Territory and Groupings
The Redknob Octopus is not a territorial animal, at least not with members of its own species. They range over a territory of a few square miles, often overlapping with others of their kind though they rarely see each other. In the mating season, many of these Octopi pair off to reproduce and the one that takes on the female gender will retreat into protecting her eggs in her own territory.
- The Knobeater Maiar are rare but clearly distinguishable for their bright red facial patterns, strange fin-like fans on their head and upper body along with an increased number of gills.
- The Redknob Octopus has one natural predator: aquatic reptiles. Many of the species have developed methods to protect themselves, whether it be unique hunting patterns or immune to the toxins dished out by the Mollusca or similarly toxic foes.
- A Redknob Octopus was once found lacking any knobs on its entire body mere days before the bodies of four young Maiar also washed ashore. It seems clear that they had purposefully picked the poisonous sacks but why the creature let them take them all is unknown since it did not seemingly die to any surface wound.