Tag Archives: Akahana

Militant Lesbian Tree Octopus Sorceress

Akahana (Japanese, Feminine): “Red Rose/Beautiful Flower”

So I had this idea for a character in a fantasy setting based on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/) who had been a familiar summoned by some wizard, but who had somehow managed to survive when he got killed.

I grew up playing D&D in the WAY old days. (Celebrating 40 years in 2021, for example) When a wizard had a familiar, it was always a risk, because they were easy to kill and could seriously hurt the wizard that they were bonded to. (Those rules got made much less painful in 5th ed, in case you were wondering.)

Then we had this running joke about a powerful magic item shaped like a brandy snifter and holding a goldfish. As a familiar. Weird and a little silly, but you get really bored, running the same combat dwarf, archer elf, or paladin human after all while, so you have to branch out and really go for the gusto with crazy roleplay ideas. (Ask my friends about some of the weird shit I’ve pulled over the years and campaign, okay?)

Except that the joke evolved, and the question was if the goldfish was really a god, and the character would become the familiar responsible for carrying him all over the place so he could do things on our world.

Put those two together and you have some serious silliness (not an oxymoron, by the way).

So I wrote about this tree octopus sorceress. Militant lesbian, of course, because when an octopus female mates, she lays eggs, protects them for several months while starving herself, and then dies. Screw that, Akahana was going to live forever.

But she had a problem. Somehow, all the evil had been ripped out of her soul somewhere along the way when her summoner died, and now she was kinda good. Whoops. So the goldfish god sent her on a quest, mostly to learn about herself, but also to help others.

One thing turned into another, and she ends up doing more favors for the guy, and growing in power and understanding about herself. Got three stories so far and thinking about a fourth soon.


The Akahana stories let me explore some of the common tropes of Western European/Tolkienesque fantasy as the 20th Century really shaped it. (Dungeons and Dragons straight up steals whole chapters from JRRT and files off just enough serial numbers so as to not get sued.)

What is magic? What is evil? What things appear innocent on the surface of things, but underneath are really kinda icky, but we don’t talk about it or deal with it in polite company.

But my militant lesbian tree octopus sorceress can have frank conversations in between blasting seagulls and chipmunks on one hand, and saving the world on the other.

It is a radically different take on the genre, but hey, have you met me? Never write straight down the rails, because EVERYBODY does that, and it gets stale.

So I invite everyone to enjoy some silliness. I just put the first three Akahana stories up on my webstore. #3 is otherwise only available in an anthology that came out a while ago, and I know how many people actually bought copies, so most of you haven’t read it.

This is your chance to upend modern sword and sorcery fantasy, and really have some fun, while still dealing with some amazingly deep and complicated questions.

Y’all have fun, and maybe buy some other books while you’re there. Every little bit helps.