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Webcomic / The Sanity Circus

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It gets worse here every day.Pictured 

The Sanity Circus (also known as SanCirc for short) is a Web Comic by the user Windfilte (or just 'Windy') about Attley Grimshaw, a young girl in the strange, inconspicuously-named city of Sanity. For her things become stranger than most when her best friend turns out to not be what she seems, and soon discovers that this may apply to the entire city itself.

So begins the journey under the surface of a city that on the surface has demons wandering the streets and where teenagers can be grounded for practicing magic in their bedrooms. Underneath the surface lie secret societies, an army of musical instrument-people known as the Instrumen, a strange process performed on every new Director to take office and a terrifying race of Eldritch Abominations called the Scarecrows. The circus in the centre of town itself seems to be at least knowledgeable about if not directly connected to all these things, but the further you ask the more layers of secrecy seem to protect things. Hence Attley and a shapeshifter boy she encounters named Fletch Gray, along with many varied allies and acquaintances along the way, try to dig up the answers to their own individual questions out of this mess, while also surviving encounters with the returned Scarecrows and constantly trying to outwit the Hidden Agenda Villain on their tail. A villain who appears in the form of a 15-year-old girl, and whose eyes turn black when angry. Welcome to Sanity, everyone.

The comic was hosted on SSP Comics and Tapastic, but now has its own proper website. The first ten chapters have also been posted to the artist's DeviantArt account. The comic currently updates on Mondays and Fridays. Note that the author's content recommendation is 'Teen+'.

The Sanity Circus contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Implied Trope - it seems that Posey is trying to help Attley re-discover her true nature, which in her eyes is a genuinely good thing. However, for anyone else, this is definitely bad. But then she's also trying to protect her from the other Scarecrows who would kill for her for her uselessness... To other people, though, she's just Faux Affably Evil instead.
    Posey: (Having blown the wall down and standing there with glowing red eyes, pauses to dust herself down with a smile) Oh dear! Sorry about that! I hope I haven't interrupted anything. I just wanted to visit my friend!
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Steven says his damaged appearance and lessened abilities prompts the other Instrumen to make fun of and ostracize him. He could be playing this up, though.
  • Alt Text: The author supplies a comment at the bottom of each strip, usually something humourous responding something that happened or was said in one of panels.
  • An Arm and a Leg: After she defends Attley against King, King's retaliation severs Posey's arm.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Even in their instrument forms, Instrumen can still move and speak. Steven even emotes to an impressive extent without any real facial features.
  • Animorphism: Fletch, who can turn into a white seagull at will.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The Tomes all embody an aspect of humanity having been created by sorcerers in an attempt to bolster their forces from human souls. The Maestro, embodiment of music, created the Instrumen, and Rios, the head of the Nameless Organization, is the embodiment of curiosity.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • Attley is mysteriously unaffected by Posey's magic, even when everyone else in the room is.
    • Fletch remarks later that demons are generally supposed to be resistant to magic, which makes the fact that Posey effortlessly decapitated one even more distressing.
  • Anti-Regeneration: The Scarecrows have the ability to permanently kill other Scarecrows.
  • Anti-Villain: Posey may be evil and trying to make Attley back into a full Scarecrow, but she is also genuinely and sincerely trying to save Attley's life from the other, more cruel Scarecrows who would declare her useless.
  • Bad Black Barf: Either this or a combination of Black Blood and continual Blood from the Mouth, but the demon that attacks Attley appears to leak some sort of black fluid in copious volumes once it flips into homicidal fury.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the main characters go to the warehouse to meet Dr. King, Attley and Fletch are wary that even they didn't see Posey in the vicinity, she could still be up to something. Not long into their meeting, Dr. King suddenly draws his gun and says that he told Nimbus to make sure he wasn't being followed by 'one of THEM'. He then shoots Attley.
  • Barrier Warrior: Bee's main form of magic when trying to hold off Sammy at the circus.
  • Berserk Button:
    • For some reason, demons become absolutely psychotic at the sight of Attley.
    • Posey lashes out suddenly at Sammy when he calls Attley 'a lost cause'.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: According to Steven, most Instrumen are hollow and do not eat.
  • Black Cloak: The demons seen around Sanity appear to wear these. Underneath them is a disturbingly bony figure.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The Scarecrows. They're not always like this, but at their most evil moments they become distinctly visible.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of the very first panels of the comic shows the assassination of the previous Director.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Posey dresses in cheery red colours and, in the early chapters, is often set against a bright bloom lighting background. She's an Eldritch Abomination out for nothing more than ruining lives.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Attley's mother demands to know why she's been out late after she should be for the third time, Attley comes back at protests how unfair it is that she's forcibly kept indoors when her brother can leave. Her mother simply replies with a sigh and says that they've been over this.
  • Came Back Wrong: According to Posey the Scarecrows weren't meant to come back at all after such a long time, so some of them had troubles doing so. Sammy's Supernatural Eyes are just one case of this.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Posey. Within the first chapter she confesses, quite without prompting, to not being human - and given the way she just demolished a wall for no reason either, her attitude towards people is not really in question either.
  • The Caretaker: Suzy towards Fletch. When she meets with him, along with squeeing and celebrating she also fusses about things like whether he's eating enough.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Fletch says that magic in this universe 'requires sacrifice', and that it can be either body, soul or life magic. Humans, though, aren't strong enough to do anything other than 'body' magic, so it must take a serious toll to use the other kinds (unless you have the strength of being, well, not human). Posey ends up blowing her cover to Attley in part because she assumed that the latter would figure out that she wasn't human from killing a demon who was going to attack Attley with magic despite demons having Anti-Magic properties, not knowing that Attley is so sheltered that she knows almost nothing about magic.
  • Cast Full of Gay: See here.
  • Casting a Shadow: Posey is extremely proficient in darkness magic - when when stabbed and bleeding from the mouth, she still manages to engulf Luthier.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Nimbus Owens, the next in line to become Director. He is missing at the very start of the story - it takes nine chapters for him to appear in person.
  • The Chessmaster: Posey. Within the first fifteen pages it's implied that she's tugging events along to her own ends, and evidence for this only grows throughout the story. Even letting Attley find Dr. King with the expectation of her being shot was part of her plan.
  • Children Are Cruel:
    • Even the normal ones around Sanity qualify for this - two of them throw rocks at Attley as she runs down the street in the prologue.
    • Posey. Once again with feeling - she's an undying monster in the form of a sweet child.
  • Cop Killer: See People Puppets.
  • Could Say It, But...: After a while Attley and Fletch finally manage to get Donovan Sparc for a conversation to explain what he knows about everything they've experienced and been involved in. He spends most of the conversation trying to sate their curiosity while not revealing anything dangerous for them to know or crucial for the Nameless Organisation. The result: Some but not all questions are ultimately answered.
  • Creating Life: Instrumen were seemingly ordinary musical instruments once - Steven says that the dents in his flute body 'were there before my creator brought me to life'. Luthier states plainly and simply to Posey that 'I was created to protect the humans of this city. And you were created for precisely the opposite.'
    • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: 'Therefore I can see why you'd think I was created to destroy you. Who knows, maybe I was.'
  • Creepy Child: Posey Morris. Sweet, smiling, cheerful - but in her very first appearance, she kills a demon with a single touch and then brushes it off as if it never happened. And that's just the start...
    • It's implied that she represents/embodies pediaphobia - fear of dolls, hence her creepily-flawless young appearance.
  • Creepy Doll: As mentioned above, there's a strong implication that Posey represents this phobia. She even has a Super Mode that's distinctly doll-like.
  • Cryptic Back Ground Reference: Many. Luthier and Steven, for instance, make reference to other Instrumen in their organisation such as March and Jupiter.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of Chapter 10. Attley is a Scarecrow, and has taken mortal damage. Posey has abducted her. Steven has been beheaded. Dr. King is almost certainly dead. Fletch collapses to his knees, and Mrs. F crawls tragically out of Attley's abandoned hat.
  • Death-Activated Superpower: Not until she is shot in the chest does anyone discover that Attley is a Scarecrow. Including her.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Panels that show people being shot mostly use just red background and black silhouettes to show the sudden moment.
  • Detect Evil: Dr. King can apparently tell within seconds that a Scarecrow has followed the main characters to the warehouse they meet him in without being able to visibly see any signs of it. This is something that they weren't aware of - even the Scarecrow in question.
    • This is, however, only an Implied Trope - the truth is that Dr. King has known Attley is a Scarecrow all along because so is he.
  • The Determinator: Sammy Talbot will tear apart the whole of Sparc's Circus if it means he will find Attley. And will not stop even when thrown magically into a wall headfirst.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Posey is just as calm and smiling having blasted Attley's house with magic as she is when hanging out with her on the street a few hours earlier.
    • Luthier can still smile and make casual offhand remarks as they duel with a terrifying monster that could kill them in an instant.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    Donovan: Uh, yes, the "secret" organisation. I wouldn't so much call it "secret", though... it just... handles things without the public knowing.
  • Double Meaning: When Attley says that Posey could maybe teach her magic sometime, Posey smiles and says "I'd love to!". On one level, Posey is cheerfully agreeing to Attley's request and helping her out - on another, Posey is The Corruptor and wants Attley to tap into her powers as a Scarecrow.
  • Dull Surprise: Although Posey normally does a good job of out-predicting other characters and their reactions, she apparently expects a bit much of Attley in her attempt at The Reveal early on:
    Posey: I suppose I should put your suspicions at ease, hm? (Turns around with Glowing Eyes of Doom) I am not human!
    Attey: Suspicious? I wasn't... I wasn't suspicious of that...?
    (Beat panel)
    Posey: But- But surely, that spell you saw me use on the demon! You must know that is far too advanced for a human to use!
    Attley: No!
    Posey: ...Oh. Do you know anything about magic?
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • When she arrives at Attley's house, Posey first tries knocking. When Attley's mother shouts to not let her in, Posey blows the door in in a giant burst of red magic that throws Attley into the wall.
    • Fletch and Attley first meet when Fletch is in seagull form, flying outside Attley's safehouse. When she steps outside he turns back - and in the process of doing so manages to kick her in the head, knocking her to the ground.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: When Luthier the cello Instruman is asked in the Fourth-Wall Mail Slot about other Instrumen, Steven the flute is seen silhouetted in the background.
  • Emotion Eater: Scarecrows feed on fear, and if they have to induce it first to get a decent snack then oh well. It seems that enough fear taken at once can be fatal.
  • Enemy Mine: Posey really needs Attley to work with her to stop the older Scarecrows destroying her for her uselessness. Even when she admits to Attley that she doesn't know what to do otherwise, Attley just blows a loud raspberry at her.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: The demon that comes out of the alleyway in the prologue that Attley doesn't notice until it has its hand on her shoulder.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Early in the prologue, a boy throws a rock at Attley as she runs down the street. She marches up to him and demands he apologise, but when he doesn't she appears to let him go, putting her hand on his head and saying that it's a bit sad he hasn't grown out of it yet. As she does so, her pet spider Mrs. F crawls out of her sleeve and onto his head. One freak out later, Attley whips Mrs. F back, puts her in her hat and coldly say 'Apology accepted'. She's not cruel, but she won't take being messed about.
    • Sammy drops into a shop and asks about enlarging his stamp collection. The shopkeeper tells him to wait while he makes a phone call. Sammy responds by throwing the shopkeeper into a shelf and, with a smile on his face, feeds on his fear.
  • Evil All Along: Dr. King is a Scarecrow. So even in the Hope Spot, the main characters were still walking straight into the Screwcrows' clutches.
  • Eye Colour Change: The Scarecrow's eyes change from normal when revealing their true nature in a variety of ways.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There:
    • Sammy's eyes, that extend out of his skull.
    • Spycrows have an Eyeless Face, but they make for that by having giant staring eyes embedded in their wings or torso.
    • Attley's first attempt at making a Spycrow resulted in an eye briefly appearing on her hand.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Posey fulfils a lot classic Subverted Innocence tropes - it's implied that she was created to be charming and sweet, but underneath all that is something worse than a demon.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Attley and Posey used to be best friends. Then Posey blew up Attley's house, and that was just the start of it.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: When Fletch and Attley first meet, Fletch literally puts his foot on her face to try and get answers to his question out of her. With time and exposure to joint danger, though, eventually he's putting his life on the line to try and save her.
  • First-Episode Twist: Posey is an Eldritch Abomination. This is revealed by the end of Chapter 1.
  • Floating Limbs: Bee the circus performer and greeter. Her torso, hands and legs are all detached from each other.
  • Foreshadowing: Having just saved Attley's life and cheerfully saying that she'd love to teach Attley magic sometime, Posey walks away from Attley's house. As she does, a Spycrow merges into her hand and she mutters 'Well, that didn't exactly go to plan...'
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: A couple of these have been opened over the comic's lifespan.
  • Funny Animal: Humans who overuse shapeshifting into animals end up stuck in a form in-between the two, according to Donovan Sparc the now-rhinoceros. And by that point, they can't go either way from there. Up until that point, they gradually acquire physical traits of the animal in question.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • Demons appear to have these.
    • After Posey blasts down the wall at Attley's house, she opens her eyes to reveal them faintly glowing red.
    • Luthier has these when they look up at the sight of Attley and Fletch running past.
  • Good All Along: Zigzagged Trope: on the one hand, Posey is a demon-esque nightmare creature and is trying to make Attley return to her demonic nature too - but she is also genuinely trying to protect Attley as well from the other Scarecrows, who would kill Attley permanently for being of no use to them anymore. Eventually, she decides that the Scarecrows are toxic, and she defects to Attley's side permanently.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Last, the creator of the Scarecrows.
  • The Great Offscreen War: Centuries ago, there was a war between humans and sorcerers (in Attley's words, 'The sorcerers invented magic and humans got huffy about that'). In the end humans won and the sorcerers were wiped out but not before the last one created the Scarecrows.
  • Guest Strip: A handful have occurred during the run.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Luthier, after Posey finally musters up the strength to attack them.
  • Handshake Refusal: When Attley finally manages to get Fletch's name out of him, she introduces herself in turn and offers her hand. Fletch just sits with his arms folded and asks what she was being chased for.
  • Head Pet: Attley has a pet spider. She keeps her in her hat.
  • Healing Factor: Even as Luthier runs Posey straight through on their bow cutlass, they offhandedly remark 'Oh, calm down. I'm sure you'll survive this'. And sure enough, next time she shows up (a day or so later), she's fine.
  • Helicopter Parents: Attley's mother insists that Attley spends as much time inside, preferably in her room, as possible, simply because she doesn't know what else to do to keep her safe. Attley doesn't see why she needs protecting.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: What does Posey want with Attley? She seems to want to 'help' her somehow, but how? It doesn't become clear for a long time, but until then it becomes very clear that she will knock down anything/one she has to in her way. Even her strictly-speaking teammate Sammy doesn't get let in on her plans, but appears to know that when she says 'Don't worry, this will work', it will.
  • Hope Spot: The chance to meet up with Nimbus' mysterious benefactor Dr. King, who seems to know about a lot about many of the mysteries of the city, seems like a genuine piece of good news for Fletch and Attley. However, on getting there, Dr. King shoots Attley, refuses to help and runs - straight into Sammy.
  • Horrifying the Horror: When safeguardians get involved, even Scarecrows are scared of their power.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Attley has no idea how to use her Scarecrow powers.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: In her latest reincarnation, Attley forgot her real identity and was raised by a human family. Not only does she know act like a human in practically all ways, albeit an ironically fearless one, she also tells the strongest Scarecrow right to his face that she doesn't trust Scarecrows and regards them as monsters.
    Dr. King: Ah. What a very... human answer.
    • As it turns out, she's far from the only Scarecrow with this, even King himself admitting to it before he tries to kill her, it's just the most pronounced due to her memory loss and being raised by a human family.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Given the way it is, calling the city 'Sanity' is almost like a form of Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • I Know What You Fear: Nimbus Owens says in the comic that the Scarecrows' powers are based on phobias.
    • Additional series artwork suggests that each Scarecrow is based on one phobia specifically. WARNING: The comments contain spoilers.
  • Identity Amnesia: Attley has entirely forgotten that she used to be/still is a Scarecrow. In the flashback scene where she first meets Posey, she says Posey looks familiar but doesn't know and draws no attention to it. Even when her memories are unsealed, they are still very foggy, and trying to push things and remember hurts her.
  • I Know Your True Name: According to Donovan Sparc, if you kill a Scarecrow without identifying it (as he made sure to do with Sammy) they will just reincarnate with a new face and identity. Knowing their true name apparently either stops this or helps you identify the new form.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Implied Trope that this is how 'soul' and 'life' magic work - see Cast from Hit Points.
  • Implied Death Threat:
    • Posey does this a lot. Mostly distinguished by a significant Eye Color Change.
      • When she comes to Attley's house, she traps Attley's mother in magic, making her freeze in place. As her mother tries to chock out a warning Posey remarks 'Oh dear, is my spell breaking already? I'm very rusty. Perhaps something a little more permanent will do...' Fortunately she gets distracted by Attley making a run for it, giving her mother enough time to activate her safeguarde.
      • When she tracks Attley down to the safehouse, she turns on Fletch and remarks 'Getting here was so tiresome, though! (Slasher Smile) I'm famished.'
      • One of her first comments on seeing Steven is "Maybe he'll look as lovely in two pieces as the other one..."
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Attley's brother gets home and opens his wardrobe to get changed, a dish full of Mrs. F's food (dead bugs) falls on his head and all over his clothes. Attley, who put them there, laughs and thinks it's hilarious, but when Victor runs crying out of the room suddenly realises that she actually quite upset him.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: The last thing Donovan Sparc does for Attley and Fletch is give them a flute he found during Sammy's attack earlier and say that 'I promise it will be more useful to you than you think'. It is in fact a disguised Instruman.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Attley's fear as she waits in the safe house is that if Posey hurt her family, it would be her fault for Posey coming to find her.
    • Fletch also personally takes responsibility for the death of one of the circus performers that was attacked by Sammy, on the grounds that if they hadn't been there Sammy wouldn't have come after them. Attley manages to salve his conscience at least somewhat, if not actually relieve it.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Outside the circus, Attley accurately spots that Posey's spycrow has an eye where it definitely shouldn't be and says that it means it must be magical. Unfortunately, she passes it off as a circus trick that got out.
  • Magical Eye: When Attley's mother activates her safeguard, at The Nameless Organisation a member sits up suddenly with a glowing star symbol in her eye having detected what had happened.
  • Magic Pants: Thankfully, Fletch's cloths come back when his human form does.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Eyes are commonly used for this. Fletch's aren't the same as each other, and Sammy's have double pupils in each.
  • The Masquerade: Most of Sanity's magical or mystical elements - Scarecrows, secret societies, the fate of the Directors - is hidden from the public, and privy only to select few. The select few in each case do not tend to overlap.
  • Meaningful Rename: Fletch renamed himself based based on a comment an archer friend made about his now feather-like hair.
  • Morphic Resonance: An Instruman's human form resembles their instrument form. Luthier (the cello) has a long brown coat with a long black division down the centre and black embellishments on the sleeves resembling string instrument sound holes. Steven (the flute) has a long silver outfit with many band and buttons for the buttons on the flute. Their weapons resembles their instrumental form too - Luthier has a bow cutlass, and Steven carries a shotgun.
    • The damage sustained to Steven's flute form appears to resonate to his human form - he says it's the reason his eyes are the way they are.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: When Scarecrows reveal their true nature, as well as the eye change stitches appear over their mouths. This does not stop them talking, though.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Established very early on, with a teenager on the street casually asking his friend if he's had any chance to do any spells lately. And then when Posey saves Attley from being attacked by a homicidal demon shortly after, her only comment is 'Oh Attley, you should know better than to upset demons!'
  • Mundane Utility: Bee apparently uses magic to pack a whole bed into a small suitcase.
  • Mysterious Parent:
    • Attley says that she never knew her actual birth parents. She apparently came to the semi-serious conclusion over the years that they must have been high-profile mobsters, and abandoned their daughter for her own safety.
    • Fletch knew his father, but not particularly well. He certainly didn't know about his role in the Nameless Organisation, which leads to his search.
  • Noodle Incident: The magic accident that left Bee the way she is.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • Posey leaves Luthier in the alleyway having cut them in half, assuming they're dead. When two fellow Instrumen come by, however, they sit up and start talking to them.
    • Sammy beheading Steven is assumed to be fatal - however, like all flutes he's assembled using slip joints so his head slides right back in again. He even complains he feels "a little flat" until Fletch gets it adjusted properly.
  • No Sympathy: The Scarecrows have no real compassion for humanity. Dr. King casually says 'But you know, what we do to humans is only natural. We were created for it,' in a way that suggests he then feels it's only natural for them to do so.
  • Not Quite Back to Normal: In human form, Fletch still retains features of his seagull form. Namely, a black band across his nose, feather-like white hair and one of his eyes is black with a gold iris while the other is normal. Word of God is that these are a direct consequence of using his other form too much (his old friend Suzy comments that she remembers when his hair used to be black), and that if he keeps doing it he'll acquire other traits as well. Sparc is an example of someone who's done it so much that he's stuck in half-animal form permanently.
  • Off with His Head!: Sammy manages to kick an Instruman's head clean off in one go.
    Sammy: That's one less frowny face!
  • Oh, Crap!: Attley's expression when she tries to point the demon accusing her towards the boys that threw a rock at it, only to realise they've scarpered. This is the first of many moments of this kind.
  • Older Than They Look: Posey appears fifteen, and most of the Instrumen look like youngish adults. Regardless, when talking with Posey, Luthier says 'Oh well! Let's not bring up century-old grudges.'
  • One-Letter Name: Mrs. F, Attley's pet spider.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires are briefly mentioned to exist, and one, Valerie, is introduced in Chapter 18. Like the Scarecrows, they were created by a sorcerer.
  • Painting the Medium: Dark creatures (demons, Scarecrows etc.) have black speech bubbles with white text.
  • Paper Tiger: Steven is one of a race seemingly created to combat the Scarecrows, and after the skill shown by Luthier already it seems that he is just as talented himself. He certainly has no trouble painting himself as the best thing under the Sun. However, when he finally comes face-to-face with Posey, he freezes on the spot before turning and running for his life, abandoning Fletch and Attley.
  • People Puppets: After finding and tricking a Nameless Organisation member, Posey runs up being him and sticks a wind-up key through his back. Which she then starts winding up. Once done, she steps back with a smile before telling him to 'Go and tell them I say hello'. Staggering and janking, the man returns to the N.O. building and expressionlessly declares 'The Scarecrows are here' before collapsing forward.
  • Predecessor Villain: The Last, the sorcerer who created the Scarecrows. He's been dead for centuries, but his creations are still running around, and his Will, his final spell, will soon be unleashed on Sanity if the heroes can't stop it.
  • The Presents Were Never from Santa: The identity of Nimbus' mysterious benefactor (apart from Dr. King) that stopped other people catching him is finally revealed. It's Sammy.
  • Power Glows: A lot of magic effects in the comic glow strongly. Safeguarde spirits glow brightly enough to light rooms.
  • Precision F-Strike: Posey's reaction to the safeguarde spirit being released in Attley's house.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Attley and Fletch. Attley is more relaxed and active, while Fletch is quiet in speech and rushes into things far less readily.
  • Rebel Prince: Nimbus Owens, who's on the run from the very people who want to make him the new Director. It's the method involved that makes him scared - it involves soul extraction.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Scarecrows have multiple souls, allowing them to regenerate a new body when killed.
  • Secret Circle of Secrets: A rare heroic example: The Nameless Organisation is concerned with tracking down, monitoring and keeping a lid on the Scarecrows, but they do with maximum secrecy and all information is strictly limited. They're even called 'The Nameless Organisation', after all.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: If the magic to change into a chosen animal (you can't change the animal after you use it successfully) is over-used, the user slowly gains more and more animal traits, and will eventually be permanently stuck in a state in-between their chosen animal and human. Fletch's eye, nose mark, and hair are examples of this progressing, and Sparc looks like a humanoid rhino-man. A woman in a later chapter is half-crocodile.
  • Shadow Walker: Scarecrows can turn into a shadow to move quickly or evade harm.
  • Slasher Smile: Posey, often to go with her either scheming or making an Implied Death Threat.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Steven the flute Instruman makes his opinion of himself no secret. His first words on revealing his true form are 'My name is Steven! Steven Anton-Francs! You're all so lucky to have met me!'
    Fletch: Oh boy...
  • Spikes of Villainy: King, being the Scarecrow who represents the Afraid of Needles phobia, has a Super Mode covered in spikes.
  • Strange Secret Entrance: When Attley bumps - literally - into the shady figure that turns out to be Nimbus Owens, she knocks him off-balance and into a wall. And then through it. They both fall through, into his secret hideout hidden behind the hologram.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Subverted: Mrs. F is fairly cute for a spider and a Head Pet for Attley, who is clearly very attached to her.
    • It is heavily implied that Attley is the scarecrow who embodies arachnophobia
  • Super Mode: Scarecrows apparently have one where they more completely embody their form.
  • Super-Strength: Posey throws Attley over her shoulder without even turning her head to try.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Posey has an episode of this, when she tries to tell Sammy how Attley is refusing to let Posey help her and Sammy replies 'Yeah, that's unfortunate' before asking if she wants to check out his stamp collection to see if it works as a distraction. She also says in a Q&A that she feels that the other Scarecrows are insufferable.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Attley feels guilty when she learns that Fletch's father gave his life to get her to the N.O. after she Came Back Wrong and had her memories damaged.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Both Scarecrows and Instrumen are capable of blending into human society with very little effort, due to the nature of their transformations.
  • This Was His True Form: Luthier returns to the form of their instrument upon dying (see No One Could Survive That!).
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Even Attley didn't know she was a Scarecrow.
  • Touch of Death: Posey merely rests her hand on the head of the demon in the prologue, and with one blast of magic she slices straight through it.
  • Unwanted Rescue: From Posey's point of view, she is 'rescuing' Attley and reminding her of her true nature, as well as protecting her from the other Scarecrows. Attley doesn't see it that way.
  • The Voiceless: Shoo, one of the clowns at the circus. Never speaks, and has a black X on her mouth (although this is actually just make-up).
  • Villainous Crush: Posey apparently has feelings for Attley, or at least her previous Scarecrow incarnation, explaining a lot of her motivation. When King confronts her about it, the way she reacts is rather telling, saying that Scarecrows shouldn't be able to love rather than denying it.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Sammy Talbot, one of the Scarecrows, is first seen enquiring at a shop about adding to his stamp collection. However, he didn't like to be kept waiting.
  • Walking Wasteland: Downplayed Trope - the tightrope wire smokes under Sammy's feet.
  • Wall Crawl: When Posey's shadow-shift moves onto the wall, not only can it keep moving on the vertical surface but she can even reform out standing on it at right angles to normal gravity.
  • The Watson: Attley's lack of understanding about magic conveniently means that the audience can get filled in on this universe's system of magic too. She also doesn't appear to know anything about Scarecrows, even though Fletch does - prompting explanations from Mr. Sparc.
  • We Interrupt This Program: Just as the curtain opens on Sparc's Circus, the man on the high wire turns out to Sammy Talbot.
    Sammy: Oh, my apologies for this disturbance. I promise I won't be long. I'm simply looking... for a Miss Attley Grimshaw.
  • Weirdness Magnet: As Attley points out when Nimbus says that his reason for running away is kind of weird, she's currently being accompanied by a guy who's also a flute and a boy with feathers for hair, and has been chased by fear-eating monsters all day. '"Weird" is a bit lost on us, now.'
  • Wicked Cultured: Two Scarecrows are introduced to us leaving the opera, declaring it a 'wonderful performance as always, dear'.
  • You Are Number 6: The Scarecrows seem to refer to each other by a letter, the first letter of the phobia they each represent, as well as they names they choose (for example, Attley Grimshaw for Arachnaphobia).
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    Posey: But my point is: Another one of [the Scarecrows] came back and he wasn't able to use any of his powers. Do you know what we did to him? He was killed. Permanently. Because he wasn't of any use to us.

Alternative Title(s): San Circ