- Alas, Poor Villain: Stockyard is not a nice person, at all, and he murders poor Toby, but he's a product of his harsh upbringing and it's sad to see him die terrified and screaming.
- Awesome Art
- Base Breaker: Sette. Fans either think she's adorable, troubled, or go on long tirades about how she ruins the entire comic.
- Cargo Ship: Sette/Money.◊
- Complete Monster: Arctrit Ramora, better known to the cast as Starfish, the leader of the Red Berry Boys. He earns money by kidnapping people, vivisecting them, and using the available space to transport a magical substance in their captives' bodies. The process leaves its victims drifting in and out of consciousness in a constant state of pain. Recently, Starfish has made it a priority to target children for this procedure. He does so because his buyers pay him the same amount per body. By using smaller bodies he can stretch out his supply for extra cash. What this process entails is shown in gruesome detail with a little girl the readers see slowly dying on an operating table, having had most of her organs removed and then been abandoned when Starfish's lair was uncovered. When he's not motivated by greed, he is prone to partaking in horrific actions simply for his personal pleasure. When his mook, Ephsephin, has been wounded and is begging Starfish for a doctor, Starfish merely smiles and caves in his skull. He also betrays Quigley, an Antivillain who only signed up with Starfish so long as the captive children were set free once the job ended. Not only does Starfish renege on their deal and attempts to have Quigley killed, but he even states that his son Matty will also undergo the procedure.
- Creator's Pet: The author discusses the trope on their ask blog, regarding Sette and Murkoph.
"If you come into Unsounded thinking I want you to forgive Sette her foibles because she's so cute and because I've stuck her in the lead, you got the wrong idea. But it's my fault if they get the wrong idea 'cause I'm the one givin' out ideas! Some people just can't enjoy a heroine with the issues that Sette has. And I absolutely get that. Funnily enough people have short memories and when Murk was introduced it's like they thought here's another morally reprehensible character that Glass fatuously expects us to adore. But no, dorks, he's just a morally reprehensible character."
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Duane's brother, Lemuel. So far he has only appeared in one chapter for two relatively short scenes, but readers have already started swooning over him and speculating about his role in the plot. It's possible that his similar appearance to Murkoph might have something to do with it.
- In fact, when the Duane & Sette formspring was converted into a questionnaire for Duane when he was alive, someone quickly took the opportunity to propose to Lemuel.
- Heartwarming Moments
- In which Duane hugs Sette, and Sette is less of a selfish, foulmouthed little brat than usual.
- Such a sky.
- Sette rather uncharacteristically jumping to help the strange fetus creatures when they ask for her help. She looks so happy about it, too.
- Best wife in centuries.
- Sette growing a conscience and feeling empathy for Duane. "...I think he was only a Da' all along."
- Elka returning the Peaceguard badge in gratitude to Elan after being saved by him. That's the smile of a Butt Monkey Dirty Cop finally getting to feel proud of himself.
- Vienne of Seferpine is largely a story of fear, darkness, and uncertainty roiling beneath a thin veneer of happiness, but there is one moment of true joy towards the end, when Vienne finally finishes Chitz. She is worried that Matty will hate its ugly, slapdash appearance, but:
“I know it’s not as fine as the waistcoated rabbit Mrs. Perierre made but you can imagine it’s whatever you want-”
“It is a hound!” Matty said, grabbing it in his porcelain-white hands. “It’s Jenner! Can we put a ghost in it, mama? Like Uaid?”
“No more ghosts for now,” Vienne said, wrapping her arms around him. “Let’s go out into the rain tomorrow. No ghosts, no Uaid, no work. We’ll have a picnic with the sheep and monnies in the grasslands. We’ll bring the paper and make predictions over all next quarter’s duels. All right?”
Matty nodded, flipping over the poppet’s button eyes in mild fascination. Vienne fingered his hair.
“But you know, Matty, if you want to go to the Childrens’ House instead, that is all right too.”
“No,” he said without hesitation. “You would be alone.”
“But I have Gerald here and Ronald and the lads and Uaid too. It’s not your job to be my friend.”
“No.” Matty shook his head. “No.”
- Hilarious in Hindsight: See Brick Joke on the main page. Now read that scene again. Imagine what it must seem to Duane — it's like having a swordfight with someone, and all of a sudden they pull out a dildo and act like it's a super-powerful secret weapon.
- Iron Woobie: Duane is a devout member of a religion that believes that reanimated dead are the most absolute form of degradation imaginable and are irrevocably damned. He believes this completely and thinks that his God and nature have both rejected him, yet still keeps the faith and makes a point of being a decent person. The fans don't just eat it up, they would completely disregard his being a ragdoll arrangement of stitches, leather, bones, and rotten meat to smother him with hugs if they could manage it.
"But of course the day is not dark, and the future is bright and the past is a pleasant warmth behind me, so what a foolish thing to ask."
- Moral Event Horizon: Starfish crosses the line when he decides to use children for his procedure just so that he can earn extra money.
- Nightmare Fuel: So very much.
- The Red Berry Boys kidnap people to cut them open and replace their insides with some kind of smuggled goods. They prefer children, because you get the same money for a smaller body, and the girls have yet to develop breasts that get in the way of the dissection. Duane's discovery of a dying little girl is probably the most disturbing scene in the comic to date.
- Ever wonder why plods are always muzzled? Zombies are constantly, insatiably hungry: even reasonable ones like Duane go half-mad when exposed to blood.
- Starfish's serene look as he's about to bash Ephsephin's head in with a wine bottle is just unsettling on so many levels. Really, Starfish himself is just abominable.
- Sette goes into the room which she tricked Turas into entering, assuming Duane had tied him up or something. He hadn't. Turas's blood and guts splatter the room, his intestines are hanging out, his rib cage is protruding from his flesh, and Duane is munching on one of his eyes. Also, Duane's face manages to reach Uncanny Valley levels due to his eyes. There's just something wrong about eyes that look so human, peering out from a face that's so ghoulish and wasted.
- It's not that scary after initial exposure, but this page can make for one heck of a Jump Scare when reading for the first time. It stares into your soul.
- A sight that Duane has to pass by every day on the way to work: all part and parcel of living in Alderode, it would seem.
- Mixed with Nausea Fuel: That hand. Duane's entire body was like that for years, and according to Word of God, he could feel it. A few pages later in the flashback, his Horror Hunger is bad enough to eat the rotting mess.
- What it was like for Duane when he 'woke up', so to speak: blind, constantly suffocating, choking on his own blood, and gradually beginning to crave the flesh of his beloved brother and wife.
- The vivid description of Quigley's attempted suicide in Orphans:
The end of his dagger was dipped into one of the candles, the flame greeting the steel with a gentle caress. He stripped his vocal cords so he couldn’t scream. Then, when the blade began to glow, he pressed it hard across his marriage brand.
Hot like her lips, like her forge in creation and in death, hot like the municipal office burning, like the woods burning in the night. So many fires, was it fair they always stopped just short of him? He swirled the dagger as his flesh split, vivisecting the insect (would Brother Hugh like to see?), pushing the blade deep until he smelled his own grease hissing.
Press a little harder. Cut a little hole and let himself pour out of it, tipped like spoiled wine into the thirsty khert’s mouth. Wasn’t his heart hammering for it? Here it beat just below the steel, trying to excavate outward, stifled in the darkness by a cave-in. Let it out, let it out, let the khert fucking have it!
- Comes with an addition of Tear Jerker, too, as he's destroying his marriage brand in the process.
- Come Chapter 10, and Stockyard's plots concerning the Silver start going very wrong.
- The thing that eventually emerges from the covered caravan where the silver and its hosts were held. An immense smoke eel with ten eyes, made of metal and the warped flesh of the hosts. Its teeth are hands, reaching out. Its eyes are mouths, open and still moaning in agony.
- You can see Ephsephin's mashed brains stuck to the wine bottle used to beat him to death in this page.
- After Sette tricks Turas into going into Duane's room, we see the aftermath of locking a guy in a room with a rabid attack zombie. It ain't pretty.
- That hand. This one gleefully skips across Squick and lands deep in Nausea Fuel territory.
- Even better: the author posted a closeup of that panel a few months before it appeared in the comic. Not for the faint of stomach.
- Shortly after its comic page was posted, Cope actually reposted the blog entry because "You needed a larger view of this in your life."
- While it is undoubtedly overshadowed by that hand, the top panel of that page is no walk in the park either. The Aldish sure do enjoy their Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Starfish subjects Sette to an I Have You Now, My Pretty, which manages to be even more disturbing than most stuff on here already because of the very real possibility of it happening to someone in real life.
- In this strip, (which was enough to sicken even the hardened beta reader, so fair warning) while fighting off Murkoph in the Khert, Duane gets fed up and RIPS MURKOPH'S SKIN OFF. And when we say skin, we mean everything covering his upper torso, including his scalp.
- Seeing Stockyard strung up solely by the skin of his hands is pretty viscerally unsettling, especially when he tries to move.
- Tear Jerker: Sette's expression in this strip (spoilers). Especially when you consider something Duane said much earlier...
"I shall one day make her weep for someone other than herself."
Duane: "I said that name is not for you!"
- Also, this scene, where Jivi desperately begs Matty for help, only for him to find out that his father's in collusion with the Red Berry Boys.
- Everything about this strip. Matty frantically wailing that Quigley can't die because he still has five years of life left, being Forced to Watch because Chitz can't be turned off (note also that he's desperately trying to close his eyes...), and the first thing that Quigley does upon waking up is to scream Matty's name...
- Everything from chapter 7 pages 102-108. Mikalia uses pymary in an attempt to save her father from assassins, and gets a sword through the heart as a result. This is the last thing Duane sees before he's knocked unconscious and brought to the brink of death. Then he is about to cross into the khert with his daughter, but right as he does so the door shuts in front of him. And the first thing he gets subjected to upon regaining consciousness? A spike through the eye.
- Chapter 8 page 39's last panel shows some of the aftermath. It's a small detail, but you can see Will hanging his head as he leaves the funeral...
- Duane regains consciousness and see Sette on the floor and just says "Not this" repeatedly. He tries to check for her pulse, but can't because of his fingers, but eventually hears her heart beating.
- At one point, Duane and Sette are fighting, and Sette brings up Mikaila's name. As he's done before, Duane rages at her, telling her that that name isn't for her. Sette's response is just heartbreaking:
Sette: "But it is! You call me it all the time! That's why you're here. 'Cause of Mikaila. You coulda told Da t'get stuffed, but ya didn't. Ya coulda left me a hundred times, but ya ain't never. Because... sometimes after dark, you call me Mikaila, and I don't mind it. Ain't no one ever calls me Sette the way ya call me Mikaila."
- Orphans. All of it.
- Vienne of Seferpine starts happy, but gradually becomes darker and more depressing. The ending becomes very sad, as Vienne's uncertainty, self-loathing, and troubled home life come to the forefront. It is also made clear just how dangerous and oppressive their government truly is, and Vienne lives in fear of what will happen to her and her family.
The little hound poppet looked like nothing more than a tiny, bean-stuffed flour sack with a yarn tail and wooden button eyes. It was ugly but it was finished. If the government came for her at least this would be one thing she hadn’t left undone.
Vienne Quigley was not good at everything she wished she was good at. She could not sew. She could only stuff pies and boil chickens. She could not love Matty properly, nor be the sort of wife that Mathis needed. She couldn’t make the weapons that the March wished for, nor find the kindness that Uaid’s half-formed mind required to be the fair and sagacious overseer of the powerful body she was making for it. Her house was a shambles, her business had been overtaken by her obsession, and there was not a single person in all the world who understood why she could not sleep at night. Why she had never been able to sleep at night.
“You can’t be selfish, Uaid,” she whispered, pulling the tarp from father’s farcyte. The khert was an eye looking back at her; an eye twinkling with the light of a billion other eyes. “You have to be better than me.”
- Trolling Creator: Ashley loves to claim that she's going to kill off Matty (and, more recently, Quigley) next update/chapter/etc. However, he's still alive and well...thus far.
"I’ve long planned on gruesomely killing off Matty but maybe I should move his date of execution up. PULL YOUR WEIGHT, BOY."
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Timofey is actually a guy, despite certainly looking like a Cute Ghost Girl. That he's a pymaric construct crafted from First Light by Bastion might contribute to the confusion.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Starting midway through Chapter 7, Sette encounters some weird stuff.
- The Woobie:
- Everyone feels sorry for Cara.
- Matty, later on.