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The frontispiece from DS2
A Dessert Shridloo as realised by Nicola L Robinson

Back in the days of almost unbridled power, Super Grand Master Sorcerers would attempt to outdo one another in their creation of weird and wonderful beasts. Of the seventeen known 'non-evolutionary' creatures, only eight can still be represented by live specimens.

Of those, Hereford Zoo had an unprecedented four. They had the only captive breeding pair of Buzonji , two species of Shridloo, the only captive Tralfamosaur and a Frazzle named Devlin.

They used to have a Quarkbeast, but it kept on frightening people so was removed from display. More details of these animals and other weird and wonderful things from the series can be found listed below.

You can read the what's what in the usual way, or mouse your way through the list:

1: Exhorbitus
2: Kazam
3: Marzipan
4: The Quarkbeast
5: Transient Moose
6: The Slayermobile
7: The Bandersnatch
8: The Buzonji
9: The Shridloo.
10: The Frazzle
11: The Tralfamosaur
12: Flying Carpets
13: Trolls
14: Constuff

What's What 1: Exhorbitus           Return to List

Dragonslaying sword of incredible sharpness. Can cut through steel as though it were butter. Is guarded by 'User ID' enchantment that causes instant vaporisation if a non-Dragonslayer touches it, Exhorbitus is so named because of the expense in its manufacture. Has power-assisted swipe to stop a knight getting too tired.

What's What 2: Kazam           Return to List

Full title: 'The Kazam Mystical Arts Management Company', Kazam is one of only two Houses of enchantment licensed to commit acts of magic, subject to the rules and regulations set out in the Magical Arts (amended 1966) Act.

Founded and run by The Great Zambini before he disappeared, Kazam is based in Zambini Towers, an old an crumbling ex-hotel in the centre of Hereford. Home to Fifty two wizards, mages, sorcerers, shifters, movers and soothsayers. Thirteen are capable of working, and of that, only five have current licenses.

What's What 3: Marzipan           Return to List

Naturally occurring oil-bearing rock similar to shale. Mined primarily in Cumbria and South Wales, the foul-smelling putty-like ore can be distilled into all manner of useful products such as Almondoleum, the cheap petrol-replacement used in the Kingdoms.

Can be eaten for a mild high, but the health problems associated with Marzipan are well known, and it is only eaten by those at the very margins of society, to whom life is simply an aimless drift between one Battenberg hit and the next.

What's What 4: The Quarkbeast           Return to List

Jennifer Strange's companion and pet. Often described as one tenth Labrador, six tents velociraptor and three tenths kitchen food blender, the Quarkbeast's razor sharp fangs and hideously frightening demeanour mask a quieter side that rarely, if ever, eats cats.

Rumours of the quarkbeast eating babies is a myth, but an averagely sized quarkbeast can chew through a lorry back axle in about eight minutes. Eats dogfood still in the tins, and should be given a scrap car alternator (or dynamo) with dinner to keep its scales healthy. An abiding fondness for metal is one of their many peculiar habits, zinc most of all. In fact, the first obvious sign of a Quarkbeast in the neighbourhood is the shiny zinc coatings licked off the dustbins - the beast equivalent of licking the icing off a cake.

Reproducing quantumly, the Quarkbeast arrives in negative and positive 'pairs' which must never be brought together after creation An accidental 'confluence' of paired quarkbeasts can liberate the explosive force of a 2.3 megaton Wizidrical device.

Loyal until death.

What's What 5: Transient Moose           Return to List

A enchantment cast years ago as a practical joke, it appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one within the confines of Zambini Towers and seems surprisingly resilient. Most spells fade as they unravel, like an unsecured plait, but the Moose remains. All attempts to figure how it was written and by whom has so far proved fruitless. It is thought to be at least two centuries old, written in RUNIX and operating very early Mandrake Sentience Emulation Protocols.

What's What 6: The Slayermobile           Return to List

The mode of transport for a Dragonslayer. A Rolls-Royce armoured car covered in sharp copper spikes, the Slayermobile replaced the horse when the Penultimate Dragonslayer thought the job needed modernising.

What's What 7: Bandersnatch           Return to List

Furry and very cute, it is very difficult to tell which end is which, something that can cause huge embarrassment at Bandersnatch single's bars.

What's What 8: Buzonji           Return to List

A type of six-legged okapi. Hereford Zoo has the only breeding pair in existence, which have recently produced a single cub The Buzonji still holds the world land animal record of 79.21 MPH

What's What 9: Shridloo.           Return to List

A small, vole-like creature, there are three types of Shridloo: Desert, Desiree, and Dessert. The desert Shridloo is remarkable for not living in a desert. The Desiree Shridloo is indistinguishable from a potato, and the Dessert Shridloo is the edible variety.

What's What 10: Frazzle           Return to List

A cross between an armadillo and a walrus. Lives in East Anglia where it lolls around in the salt-marshes.

What's What 11: Tralfamosaur           Return to List

The largest and most dangerous of the magically-created beasts living today, the sole captive Tralfamosaur lives in Hereford Zoo. It was recently moved to a larger and more secure compound after it ate its keeper, who insisted on poking it with a stick - never a good idea.

Resembling a dinosaur with fur, the Tralfamosaur will eat almost anything, one of the chief reasons for its creation, as it was hoped that herds of Tralfamosauri would roam the Kingdoms, dealing with rubbish and leftovers. Unfortunately, the creature couldn't distinguish so easily between what was waste and what wasn't, so the first production batch of six were ordered to be destroyed.

Before this could be carried out they were released by Animal Rights activists. The Tralfamosaur now numbers eighteen and live exclusively in the Cambrian Empire, where Tralfamosaur hunts bring in a lot of money. Hereford's example is the prototype, and was given to the Zoo when Mandrake Laboratories were closed down.

What's What 12: Flying Carpets           Return to List

Originally designed in Persia to allow the Persian Emperor much needed air support during his many wars, the Flying Carpet is now regarded as one of oldest and finest embodiments of 'traditional' sorcery.

Now limited in scope due to an incident one wintry night a few years back. Brother Velobius and two passengers died when his Turkmen Mk18C ŒBukharaš broke up in mid-air due to rug fatigue. For safety reasons, the Civil Aviation Authority had introduced strict rules that made it almost impossible to make magic carpet flight profitable. Limited top speed, navigation lights - and worst of all, a ban on passengers. All Kazam do these days were pizza and live organ deliveries.

The days of magic carpets are soon to be ended. A carpet's design life was 20,000 hours or three centuries before remanufacture, and Owen's and Prince's are now well beyond both. With the spell to make them work now long forgotten and the supply of Angel's Feathers (the active flying ingredient) now in decline, a grounding seems inevitable.

Note: Since carpets cover the whole floor and rugs only a part of it, a 'Flying Carpet' is misnamed. Translated from the Persian - from where all Flying Rugs originate - as a 'Flying Carpet' in the seventeenth century, the term has become so entrenched that common usage has them now as carpets. A Carpeteer is correctly called a Rugeteer, or if you're French, a Tapisigator.

What's What 13: Trolls           Return to List

Little is know of Trolls as seeing one and certain death are pretty much synonymous*. However, a recent report describes a lone male thus:

"...He was perhaps twenty-five feet in height and carried a large club fashioned from the bough of an oak. He was dressed in a leather loincloth made of cowhides stitched together, and aside from a pair of sandals and a small leather skullcap into which was stuck a juniper bush and a dried goat, he was otherwise naked. He seemed to have no body hair, and its face was smooth with just two holes for nostrils, no chin to speak off, a large mouth with two tusks jutting up against its cheeks and small eyes set deep into the skull. But what was wholly remarkable about the Troll was the adornment of its body, which was covered in a swirling pattern of fine tattoos that made him look both utterly fearsome and somehow curiously elegant..."

* It's an unnecessarily long way of saying 'The same'

What's What 14: Constuff           Return to List

Constuff is a contraction of 'Consolidated Useful Stuff PLC', the Ununited Kingdom's leading purveyor of cheap and shoddy goods. They are so large they actually own a country - Constuffia - which is full of factories where poorly-paid labourers toil ceaselessly in order to make the unUK the leading exporter of Cheap and Shoddy goods. A recent initiative to throw the goods straight into landfill and avoid costly transportation costs has been enthusiastically embraced.

Page updated November 18th 2011