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Webcomic / Unsounded

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Sette leads Duane around by a more literal leash than normal.

Duane: Consider it, Sette: If a tree could think thoughts, what might it value?
Sette: Your face.
Duane: Peace. Peace in which to thrive and grow. Acutely empathic, the beast will with hostility react to your hostility. Entreat it peacefully, however, and it will in like fashion answer.
Sette: Ugh, walky roots are STOOPID critters.
— Chapter 1

Unsounded is a Fantasy Webcomic by Ashley Cope set in a world quite unlike our own, containing multi-faceted cultures with deep and dark histories, strangely different laws of physics, and magic so commonplace it's called by a different name.

The main story revolves around rude, loud-mouthed Sette Frummagem, daughter of the Lord of Thieves. Sette is on a mission from her Da,' and she'll lie, cheat, and steal to make sure it's a success (she'll lie, cheat, and steal anyway). Condemned to aid her in her rotten endeavours is a rotten corpse by the name of Duane Adelier, who seems oddly talented with the supernatural, and oddly not laying motionless in the dirt.

Events are quickly complicated by the appearance of the "Red Berry Boys,” a gang of criminals who at first appear to be simple slavers, but are soon discovered to have a stranger and much more disturbing agenda. That agenda appears to have an uncanny number of connections to Sette's mission, and as such Sette inadvertently finds herself wrapped up in their schemes. It's not long before she and Duane are in over their heads and under fire from all sides. Priorities change from just carrying out her appointed task to living to see the next sunrise.


The road is long and no one is what they seem. Never trust a thief, and never trust anyone who won't let you look into their eyes.

The author has also written supplemental prose stories in the same universe, which can be found here.

This webcomic provides examples of:

  • Abomination Accusation Attack: Duane tells Sette he wants nothing more than to put her over his knee. She calls him a "child-lover"; to which he responds that she'd cure anyone of such a perversion.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Mikaila and her father are brutally mugged and murdered on her birthday.
  • Accent Interest: Duane's accent attracts unfriendly interest more than once because it marks him as a native of Alderode, an insular, xenophobic country that's currently escalating hostilities with its neighbours. His knee-jerk Patriotic Fervor whenever Alderode is criticized doesn't help either.
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  • Acid-Trip Dimension: The Khert, being both the infrastructure of Kasslyne's reality and a melting pot of every memory anyone has ever had.
    Murkoph: "It's too bright in here and the fish keep lookin' at me."
    Cope's commentary: "If heaven doesn't look like a psychedelic album cover I don't wanna go."
  • Adult Fear: Watching your child get slaughtered just moments after they learn how to fight back, and THEN be mutated into a walking abomination, constantly wondering if they did the same to your kid.
    • Also, everything that makes Sette grow up in Volume 2 and beyond. Twenty years' worth of trauma in two months.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Ephsephin, who, after being critically injured, begs his boss, Starfish, for a doctor. Starfish instead decides his mook has outlived his usefulness and bashes his brains in with a whiskey bottle.
    • Stockyard, despite being a far less sympathetic person than the above. He has a rather drawn-out and horrific death, involving many sharp objects and ultimately decapitation, and just when we're starting to get the idea that he might have some redeeming qualities (he chases Starfish away from Sette, for one thing). Anadyne also unwittingly accelerates his death by trying to save him.
  • All There in the Manual: Sort of. There's a ton of miscellaneous information about the setting and characters on Ashley's Formspring and Unsounded's wiki and Tumblr.
  • Alt Text:
    • During Sette's fall into the khert in chapter 7, the tab's title changes to what appears to be her thoughts.
    • Used very specifically in chapter 14 to show that the Etalarche curse has officially been cast on Roger, with the forward arrow, backwards arrow, index button, the page itself, and even the page's tab gaining text giving reasons to hate and kill Roger.
  • Always Identical Twins: Apparently in the world of Unsounded, fraternal twins simply aren't a thing. This is relevant, as in the Gefendur faith, twins are considered sacred, but they are also subjected to a ritual where one of the twins will be ritually sacrificed and cannibalized at the age of 21 while the other twin will be a member of the clergy for the rest of their life. When twins are born to a Gefendur family, they are taken and raised in a shrine away from the rest of the world, and the parents are given living compensations until the ritual takes place. In supplementary notes, it is stated that in Alderode, Ssaelit families that have twins will do whatever they can to obfuscate this fact, making the twins look and dress differently as possible, for fear that Gefendur families will kidnap their children to take them away to Gefendur shrines. How much of this is Ssaelit propoganda is ambiguous.
  • Animals Hate Him: As noted by Duane about himself. Possibly because he's dead.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: If the khert is broken, strange things happen. Like your cup of coffee freezing and suddenly wanting to be your friend.
  • Anti-Magic: There are a few things that can interfere with pymary;
    • "First Materials,” leftovers from when the gods created the world (or so the religions claim), are separate from the universal khert(having an internal khert of their own), and are therefore immune to normal magical manipulation. This immunity also allows them to disrupt pymary if they pass through the khert lines a wright is using.
    • The khert emanates from the ground, and becomes thinner farther away from it.
    • Overloading and irritating the local khert with heavy or badly-performed spells can make further manipulation of it more dangerous.
    • Since spells target objects according to their material, mixes of different materials can complicate matters.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Older members of the long-lived Alderan castes tend to speak like they're still a century behind.
  • Anyone Can Die: So far the main characters (roughly defined as Duane, Sette, Quigley, Matti, Toma, Elka, and Jivi) seem to be safe, but anyone else... well. When the silver goes on the rampage in the Deadly Nevergreen there's quite a culling of the secondary cast, and with the Crescian army bent on incinerating the town to cover up their treachery, it looks like the body count hasn't stopped ticking up.
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Perceptive glamours work this way; they make people perceive something in a certain way, but the specifics of that perception varies by individual. Duane looks different to everyone he meets, for instance, as does Bastion Winalils when he's under an illusion - which comes back to bite him when two observers realise what they're seeing doesn't match up...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Here (spoilery). And also here (even more spoilery).
    Toma: We can conclude dismemberment is habitual for him. He eats people too.
    Elka: Plus he didn't make his bed. Tch, what an asshole.
  • Artificial Limbs: Lost an arm? No problem. There's a whole range of simulacra. Including cigar-lighting, weaponized, and self-lubricating.
  • Art Evolution: Not very extreme, but the character outlines become thinner and the coloring and shading become more detailed as the story goes on. But overall, the characters all look pretty much the same from when they started, the overall style hasn't changed at all.
  • Art Shift:
  • Author Catch Phrase: Kind of. Ashley's typical response to people asking spoiler-y or story-related questions on her Formspring is simply "I wonder."
  • Auto Cannibalism: Murkoph does this to feed himself in the absence of other food sources. Due to his Healing Factor he can do this indefinitely.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Duane and Sette may spend the majority of their time together loudly complaining about each others unpleasant personalities and how much they wish to be rid of each others company, but a strong parental bond lies underneath it. Evidence for this pops up frequently.
  • Background Magic Field: The khert.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Coupled with Belly Buttonless, and apparently in-story:
    From author comment: "Legality"? I would never let issues of legality effect what I draw. Sette looks the way she looks because that's how she's supposed to look.
    • It's later confirmed that Sette has no nipples or belly button and Sette implies she has no genitals either, though that's not actually depicted.
  • Bawdy Song: In chapter 14, Duane and Lemuel sing a song to the other soldiers in their unit about how Soud girls are better than girls from the other castes. It has everyone laughing. It's also very very dirty.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: In "The Deadly Nevergreen 42": When Mikalia told her father "You are a toad!", and he says "Of course it came to pass.". Sette thinks it was this trope, but he just turned green.
  • Big Bad: Averted. While there are several major antagonists (see Big Bad Ensemble, below), there's no all-encompassing villain. The author discusses the trope, and why this is the case in the story:
    From Author Comment: I have never personally liked the concept of the Big Bad. It’s not realistic, and it serves to exonerate us all of responsibility. In my view, we’re all heroes and villains both, to someone or other, all at the same time. [...] Duane’s Big Bad is Duane. Sette’s Big Bad is Sette. This is not to say that there aren’t really powerful and influential antagonists gunning for both of them, or that they aren’t unwilling participants in schemes they can’t even currently comprehend - but this is mostly background noise. The real villains they have to overcome are themselves.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In the comic's early days, there was no clearly defined main villain, with Starfish, the leader of the Red Berry Boys, acting as The Heavy for the story. As time passed, more powerful antagonists have been introduced, and candidates for Big Bad include: Delicieu, the true mastermind of the First Silver weapon; General Bell, who's plotting to usurp his Queen and destroy Alderode; Queen Sonorie herself who's backing the amoral Black Tongue Brotherhood for mysterious reasons; Ruckmearkha, a manipulative senet beast who's playing both sides; and Murkoph, an undead psychopath imprisoned in the khert.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A couple... but most recently, Jivi and Uaid's entrance during an incredibly hopeless situation for Mathis Quigley and his son takes the cake.
  • Blackface: Played with in an offhand mention. In Cresce, since most of the population is black, apparently paleface is used by Crescian actors to portray white characters. Mentioned by Elka when talking to Quigley about a play about him.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Platinum Caste of Alderode have the strongest connection to the Khert, and produce the most powerful wrights - but this connection significantly shortens their lifespan; none of them live past thirty. Plat boys are very often conscripted to become Child Soldiers and get thrown into the meat grinder of war, and Plat girls don't even get to benefit from their relationship with the khert, since women aren't allowed to practise pyrmary in Alderode.
  • Bond One-Liner: In Vienne of Seferpine, Vienne delivers one after killing an Aseptick who came to investigate her rebellious activities. It's not directly related to her kill, though, and is actually addressed to a bystander who previously gave her a chauvinist speech about how women can only do what their husbands allow them to.
    Gerald cried out. Vienne regarded him over one shoulder, dropping the pymaric in her pocket.
    “No one lets me do anything,” she said.
  • Book-Ends: Vienne of Seferpine begins and ends with an assessment of Vienne's capabilities. But while the beginning is upbeat and confident in tone, the ending is troubled and uncertain.
  • Bury Your Gays: The story features several explicitly gay characters, but as of chapter 14, all of them have died.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Sette.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Murkoph trying to talk his way out of the khert:
    Murkoph: "I g-gotta get out... and do ch-charitable, philanthropic works, y'know. Soup kitchens. O-orphans. Orphan soup..."
  • Breaking In Old Habits: See Artificial Limbs above.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • ...Possibly. In this page, Sette stares at the camera while thinking "Is someone there?,” which could be interpreted as her detecting the presence of the reader. Such a thing certainly isn't unprecedented at that point.
      • Word of God says that the scene is intentionally left vague, and that it's up to the reader to decide whether or not Sette's truly breaking the fourth wall.
    • On this page, Murkoph grabs a knife from the decorations outside the page and begins using it to cut off a piece of his thumb for a snack.
  • Brick Joke:
  • Brown Note: The weeping plague is spread by eye contact.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ephsephin.
  • The Brute: Ephsephin.
    • This has been handed off to Knock-Me-Down after Ephsephin's death.
  • Cain and Abel: It is heavily implied that Duane's brother Lemuel had some sort of role in Duane's death, though the only thing that is certain that it doesn't seem to have been out of malice or jealousy judging by how Lemuel was crying after his final conversation with Duane that day and how he took care of the resurrected Duane before the latter fled Alderode.
  • Call-Back:
    Duane: Shall we dub it Settetania?
  • Canis Major: "The giant dogs represent the defeat of leisure and fealty by the capitalist demands of poorly compensated labour– haha, no, that’s a lie. Who doesn’t like giant dogs?"
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes that Duane has the actual soul of a human being. They all believe him to simply be a fancy plod who either has a complex but entirely fabricated personality or else memories from the khert embedded in him. Even Sette believes him to simply be a not truly thinking and feeling being until she falls into the khert and witnesses Duane's final day, leading her to treat him rather cruelly until she realizes the truth. It helps that he is literally the very first person to have his soul bound to his already dead body.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Though there isn't any real danger from Duane, when he follows Quigley back to where Quigley was staying, Quigley casually informs the lady hosting him that Duane is undead, which disables Duane's glamour.
    Quigley: Forgive me, I've been tailed. The tall one is an undead monster. Is there any coffee?
  • Catapult Nightmare: Averted here.
  • The Chain of Harm: Mathis Quigley gets insulted by Starfish, and later takes it out on his son. To be fair, he's under a lot of pressure, since Starfish may "forget" to pay him.
  • Chariot Pulled by Cats: The world of Unsounded has giant dogs in place of horses; some breeds are used to pull carriages, while others are suitable as mounts.
  • Chekhov's Gag: They need a soundproof room. He's gonna be loud.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The exploding mechanical mousetraps Jivi uses in his first appearance are later slipped into Ephsephin's whiskey, which blow apart when they're inside him, giving Jivi a chance to escape captivity.
    • A woman trying to get her dog magically reddened is warned that any more enchantment could "damage the khert," but what this means is not explained, and it seems unimportant to the main plot. Until several strips later, that is, when Sette does just that.
    • The page header changes every few chapters; chapter 9's features a knife and a rope. Both of these items are later grabbed by supernatural entities who exploit the Infinite Canvas. Murkoph grabs the knife here, but he hasn't used it for anything significant yet. The First Silver monster possessing Toby's corpse grabs the rope here, which it uses to kill Stockyard.
    • In Vienne of Seferpine, Vienne mentions fairly early that she has a cache of weapons in case the government comes for her, including a pymaric that makes Your Head Asplode. She uses that pymaric to kill a government assassin sent to investigate the forge later in the story.
    • When Sette briefly escapes the dangerous situation in the Nevergreen, she arms up, gathering explosives, Toby's cinquedea... and an innocuous thin-bladed dagger which she tucks up one sleeve. The latter comes in handy as she pulls it from her sleeve to deliver a very painful (and deserved) Groin Attack on Starfish.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Cutter. He at first just seems to be a weird, minor bit character tagging along with the Red Berry Boys, but at the climax of the first arc, he reveals himself as the mastermind behind the whole operation.
  • Children Are Innocent: Surprisingly, yes. The kids get along much more amicably than the adults because they lack understanding of adult fear, hatreds, hurts, and prejudices. Matty's biggest concern in any situation is not angering his father. Even Sette, who is hardly innocent in the conventional sense, is motivated by a childlike faith in herself, her mission, her father and the self-serving Frummagen nonsense he's stuffed into her head.
  • Child Soldiers: Alderode's army recruits plat children for the front lines, to Cresce's disgust. Even extremely young plats naturally have a stronger connection to the khert than the most gifted soud wright in centuries. It's implied that older plats work in safer conditions, but the less skilled children aren't as valuable.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The end of chapter 4 is almost literal. Duane has taken a dive off a cliff, and Sette prepares for one-on-one combat with Ephsephin. This is resolved in chapter 5 by revealing that Sette failed disastrously in her fight, but Duane was fine and just needed some time to climb back up.
    • The end of chapter 9 (also the end of volume 3) has one for just about every subplot. A servant eavesdropped on Toby's traitorous conversation with Ana, The silver is growing out of control, Elka is moments away from decapitation, and Sette and Duane are captured by Stockyard's crew. The third one is quickly resolved in chapter 10 by revealing that Elan was just out of frame the whole time, and pulls a Big Damn Hero to save Elka.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Ephsephin.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The major-character wrights have a particular color attached to most of their spells: Duane's are green, Quigley's are blue, and Anadyne's are purple. When they steal each other's spells, though, the colors can get mixed or rearranged. And Duane's spells seem to turn red when things get serious.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: In the Gefendur religion twins are taken from their parents, placed in service to a temple and, when they turn 22, one of them is ritually killed and cannibalised. The twins themselves not only know this is going to happen but are fully aware which one of them is going to get the chop, and they regard it as a great honour. However the practice of 'kept twins' does creep out otherwise devout believers, such as Sette, Matty and Jivi.
  • Cope by Pretending: Daddy's Little Villain Sette doesn't so much hide from things like being Ambiguously Human and her fears that she's an Inadequate Inheritor as she purposely creates a reality where those things aren't issues.
    Sette: I'm the best liar to ever climb to the highest peak of Mt. Bloodbasin.
    Duane: The volcano? Without shoes?
    Sette: I didn't really climb it.
    Duane: Then why did you—
    Sette: Because I'm the best liar! Lyin' ain't about lyin', it's about pickin' the best world and livin' in it, no matter what.
  • Creepy Child: The Plat children that Duane led during the Aldish civil war aren't...quite right in their heads. A combination of being put on the front lines of combat despite some of them not even being 10 years old and their short lifespans cause them to alternate between being utterly adorable and completely offputting. The biggest example would be when they attempt to cheer up Duane at the end of Ch.14. They say that his reputation of never having lost a lad is still unblemished because Jon, Duane's second in command who was bisected, was 18 (out of the average plat lifespan of 30 years). To them, he was old. So they cheerfully sing about how Duane has never lost a lad yet while Duane stares on in despair.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Getting core leeched is a horrible way to die. It involves having a vital aspect of your physical makeup removed from your body by a wright. The khert then sees the rest of you as incomplete material and then painfully dissolves the rest of your body. It is 100% fatal.
  • Cultured Badass: Duane, an extensively educated spellwright and cleric with a love of the opera. Also Quigley.
  • Curse Cut Short: Subverted here.
  • Cursed With Awesome: The Gold/Soud caste, who are unaffected by the Dhammakhert in Alderode. Their countrymen distrust and look down on them because they can't be read through the khert, but it also means they can't be 'stung' and captured by the government, or have their minds twisted and warped into wanting to kill a particular person should someone cast the Etalarche curse.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Duane is one of the walking dead. He is also arguably one of the most decent people in the comic.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: The Silver or Renghul caste of Alderode all have dark skin and silver hair in addition to blue eyes.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: Duane's eyes may be artificial pymarics, but they look realistic enough for the trope to apply to his un-glamoured face.
  • Death Glare: Sette aims a pretty vicious one at Duane here.
  • Death of a Child: Kids have no special protection in Unsounded. Besides the numerous off-screen deaths caused by the Red Berry Boys, we have to witness the deaths of Cara and Duane's daughter Mikaila.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Bigotry abounds in the world of Unsounded, even in the majority of the 'good' characters.
    • Alderode has enforced religious equality, but it also has an ironclad caste system based on hair color. People of different classes are segregated and forbidden from marrying each other or interbreeding, they're expected to take stereotypical careers and the Gold and Bronze castes are heavily discriminated against. (The castes have real physiological differences: the upper caste, the Coppers, has a lifespan of centuries and almost no talent with pymary. The lower class, the Plats, die before 30 and are the most skilled wrights in the world...but this just means the Alderode government trains up Plat boys as Child Soldiers to get the most use out of them. This isn't a natural state of affairs: the castes are reinforced by an artificial khert and the laws against mixed-caste marriage.) It also has ubiquitous sexism, with women being barred from the public sphere and from practicing pymary in all but the rarest circumstances; and homosexuality, if not outright persecuted, is at least severely frowned upon.
    • Cresce is an honest-to-Twins communist state with social equality—-but the people living there have no autonomy, the whole system only works because the two-toe lizards are forced to take the worst jobs that humans don't want to do and are one degree away from slaves, and the minority religion's members are ruthlessly hunted down and killed. They also practice the ritual sacrifice and cannibalism of twins (well one of the twins, the other is expected to spend the rest of their life as clergy) which horrifies people from Alderode, who believe the body is sacred and should be burned after death to be spared any indignities.
    • Everyone hates the two-toed lizards. Everyone. At least one said lizard decides to fight back, but since everyone is indirectly responsible for the current state of the two-toes, he just starts killing everybody.
  • Deal with the Devil: Roger Foi-Hellick makes an agreement with Shaensigin, a powerful senet beast, to learn how to destroy the Dhammakhert in exchange for bringing her two toes, who she considers her children (and they consider her mother). She tells him that he must cause enough unrest in Alderode for them to cast the Etalarche curse on him, which will infect the country's population with a Hate Plague that specifically targets him. She neglects to tell him until after the curse is cast that the next step involves having his soul melted and dissected to learn the method of destroying the Dhammakhert, which will cause Roger to cease to exist, as his soul and memories will be unable to return to the khert as they normally would when one dies. Roger is not happy when he finds this out.
  • Did You Die?: Played with. When Duane is telling a group of two toes and 2 Crescian twins about a story from his time in the military, one of the Crescian girls asks him if he died when he and most of the rest of his unit fell into a large pit. As he is undead and they know it, it is a fair question, but that was not where he died.
  • Direct Line to the Author: Letters written by a researcher who found Duane's journal are inserted here and there, implying that the comic is (possibly) pieced together from his and other accounts.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Starfish, here (spoilers).
  • Disposable Woman: A couple, although both are Posthumous Characters.
  • Distressed Damsel: Sette rants at a sister-brother pair (even calling them "stupid damsels in distress") who were being menaced by some ruffians because they didn't do anything. In their defense, the sister did actually try to fend them off with a sharp "rat-poker" immediately before Duane and Sette arrive at the scene.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Surely Cutter, the weird, rhyming, over-the-top lizard man, couldn't be the engineer behind the Fantastic Nuke! But he is, and a member of the Black Tongues to boot.
  • Doomed by Canon: Inverted in Vienne of Seferpine. We know Vienne can't die until she finishes Chitz and upgrades Uaid. The former requirement is eventually completed, but not the latter, and the story does not end with her death as some might have been expecting.
  • Dropping the Bombshell: During a One Scene, Two Monologues moment, Sette gets Duane's attention by screaming "I saw the Crescians kill you and Mikaila!"
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Bastion Winalils appears in a flashback in chapter 4 and in the middle of a crowd scene in chapter 7, though he doesn't enter the main plot until chapter 11.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A small example, but in flashbacks near the start when we can only Nary Frummagem's hands, they look rather thick as though belonging to someone with a stocky build. However, when we later see all of Nary, he's rather slim and gaunt.
  • Easter Egg: Some pages have additional bits "hidden" on them, usually in the form of a text bonus (in-universe newspapers, letters, journal entries, etc.)
  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: Scripture teaches that the ocean floor — which is cut off from the Background Magic Field and therefore the afterlife as they understand it — is where the Gods built Hell, for the souls of the damned to be trapped in the frigid, crushing dark for all eternity.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Ephsephin worries about being caught because they'll hang him in the town square where his mother will see.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
  • Exact Words: "Kill me? A perplexing command."
  • Extinct in the Future: Since the Ssaelit religion adopted the lion as a symbol of their Deity of Human Origin's martyrdom and ascension, the rival Gefendur church hunted lions to extinction in an unsuccessful attempt to demoralize them.
  • Eye Scream: Duane's assassins stab his eyes out with a dagger.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: If you thought Ephsephin getting his brains smashed out was bad, just wait until Zombie-Duane shreds Turas apart and messily devours half of him. Both of these get a Gory Discretion Shot; but in the latter case, Sette walks in on the aftermath, which is shown in gruesome detail.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Aldish society is divided into People of Hair Color.
      "Caste diversity equals Aldish strength. Caste purity equals Aldish power."
    • Most people look down on the reptilian two-toes, seeing them as dull, thieving pests. After humans tore down their homes for First Materials, banned their religions, and turned them into second-class citizens forced to only take menial jobs, most two-toes have no love for spiderpaws either.
  • Fantastic Slur:
    • "Pissmop" is one for Souds, an Aldish caste identified by their blonde hair.
    • "Insect" is one for the short-lived Hethllot. Quigley rebels against this by giving his custom spells insect themes.
    • The "two-toes" respond in kind by referring to the gangly, many-fingered humans as "spiderpaws.”
  • Fantastic Underclass: The two-toe lizard folk were driven from their underground homes after a disastrous first contact and now live on the margins of human society with none of the rights of citizenship, doing menial work. It goes From Bad to Worse when they're scapegoated for Princess Rilursa's murder and subjected to mass internment.
  • Fantasy: Quite. Beyond that, however, it doesn't readily fit into any of the subgenres. It could probably be best described as "Low Fantasy, high magic.”
  • Fat Bastard: Starfish.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Duane could feel himself rotting after he became a galit. This is on top of all the other horrific things he has to deal with as part of being a zombie. In addition to that, zombies are a blasphemous abomination in his religion, so it's the rough equivalent of a devout Christian being turned into a slavering Satanic demon.
    • The people in the silver cart are still alive even after being turned into this, since it feeds on their suffering.
    • The fate that awaits Roger Foi-Hellick is this. He is allowing himself to be fed on by Ruckmearkha, an efheby whose venom is dissolving Roger's soul into spiritual soup that can be dissected and analyzed by Cresce's pymaric scientists so that they might be able to create a countermeasure to Alderode's Dhammakhert. The upshot for Roger is that he will cease to exist, as his soul and its memories won't be able to return to the khert as souls normally do when their bodies die. Oh, and all the time leading up to his soul being dissected when he's repeatedly being injected with the venom is no picnic either.
      • Even before that, being subjected to the Etalarche curse means that all Aldish people (save for the Soud caste) are compelled to violently hate him and want to kill him on sight. Including his lover, Mallory.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Beadman's Better Rat Traps work this way. Jivi later escapes imprisonment by feeding Ephsephin a bunch of them. In a subversion, this does not actually kill the target immediately; he has to be finished off later.
  • Fictional Currency:
    • The standard currency on Kasslyne is the "sem", a coin that's minted from various metals. People might specify the metal à la "gold sem" or leave it implicit, much like "two-fifty" could mean $2.50 or $250.00 in context.
    • Cresce is a communist state that abhors money, so citizens who produce beyond their required quotas earn Labour Points instead. These magic coins are keyed to the earner's aura so that they can't be spent by anyone else.
  • Fictional Document: The author cheekily claims that she has lots of information on the setting, but much of isn't in English and she hasn't scanlated it all.
  • Fighting Back Is Wrong: A frustrated Jivi is unnecessarily cruel to Sette and embarrasses her in front of a bunch of other kids, she responds in kind and a deeply upset Matty makes it clear that being mean and then being mean in response is an endless cycle that he wants no part of.
  • Fingore: Sette does not appreciate condescension.
  • Flashback Cut: Used to show Duane's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in chapter 7, here. Technically counts as a Flashback Within a Flashback, too, as chapter 7 is a Whole Episode Flashback.
    • Also used to show what happened after Duane's reanimation, here.
  • Flat "What": Duane's reaction to his daughter Mikaila asking him if he thinks "Will is cute.”
    • This is also Quigley's reaction to Starfish calling him useless in chapter 6.
  • Forced to Watch: Chitz, Matty's sight aid, can't be turned off. So, just For the Evulz, Starfish holds it in such a way that Matty is forced to watch Anadyne attempt to kill his father.
  • Formulaic Magic: Pymaric spells are essentially programs spoken to the Khert in the Old Tainish language, complete with the potential for catastrophic glitches if functions are incorrectly described.
  • For Science!: The ethos of the Black Tongues, spellwrights who want the freedom to practice pymary however they want. Some work for the betterment of mankind; some dismantle infants.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Sette and Duane are ostensibly the "main" viewpoint characters and do get most of the screentime, but the Crescian Peaceguard, the Red Berry Boys, and Jivi also have their own plot threads, and the story often alternates between them as well.
  • Frame Break: Particularly momentous events spill over the sides of the comic.
  • Freaky Funeral Forms: The two main religions feel this way about each other. Gefendur bury their dead to return them to Mother Yerta and abhor Ssaelit cremation rituals as destroying a divine gift. Ssaelit cremate their dead to spare them from decay, which they see as one mark of the dead Gods' tyranny, and believe that burial jeopardizes the soul's reincarnation.
  • From Bad to Worse: While at the Crescian monastery, Duane learns from one of the waterwomen that some of their kind are being held within, so he goes snooping around for them. The first one he finds is a dead a decomposing child held in a tank. Around this point he starts losing his mind as night is starting to fall, meaning he has all of the rage from finding the dead child but none of his normal sanity to hold his anger in check. Then when Sette tries to drag him to a secluded spot, they get separated by the dinner procession of all of the children at the monastery going to dinner. She is unable to get back to him (partially due to getting distracted by talk of a play about the gods being put on my the children) before he sets a painting on fire and nearly kills the lady in charge of the monastery.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Subverted. Though she sees it as this, Sette outright lied and misled Duane to get him closer to Cresce than he would normally have agreed to.
  • Functional Magic: Sorcerers are called "wrights" (short for "spellwright"). Seems accessible enough that one of the mooks could use it while reading an instruction manual. Specifically, pymary is Rule Magic —-it's controlled by speaking a Language of Magic with lots of rules and limitations that must be strictly adhered to.
  • Funetik Aksent: Sette's occasionally incomprehensible accent is a source of reader rage.
  • Funny Background Event:
  • Gambit Pileup: Seems like everybody is hatching up some complex plot which will inevitably come into conflict with each other.
    • In Alderode, there is a conspiracy involving Duane's murder, and it is heavily implied the Ald leadership wants to use Duane's death as justification to purge the religion of Gefendur from Alderode.
    • In Cresce, Queen Sonorie is secretly using Ruckmearkha's venom to literally melt Roger's soul in the hopes that she can find a way to counter Alderode's pymary. Meanwhile, General Bell is exploiting Sonorie's increasing unpopularity to stage a coup against her, believing she is too soft against Alderode.
    • In Sharteshane, Beadman is eager to remove Sonorie from the picture, as he believes she will destablize the stalemate between Cresce and Alderode that Sharteshane has profited greatly from. To this end, he has been secretly supporting General Bell's coup by providing him the tainted silver and using two-toes to assassinate Sonorie's sister, weakening her line of succession as well as causing massive civil unrest as Cresce initiates a fresh wave of discrimination against the two-toes.
    • For the Black Tongues, with their power and influence waning with the disappearance of Ilganyag, they have decided to renounce their vow of neutrality and have offered their services to Sonorie in return for legitimization. Winails is greatly opposed to this, and Duane is apparently key to his plans to stop them. Meanwhile, Prakhuta takes control of the tainted silver and plans to use it to not just destroy Alderode, but all of humanity in revenge for the discrimination they have subjected the two-toes to.
    • The senet beasts meanwhile have their own plans. Ruckmearkha is playing both Sonorie and Bell against each other purely for the enjoyment factor to see what happens. He's also greatly interested in Duane's nature as a self-aware plod, which is something he has never seen before. Meanwhile, Ilganyag is apparently trying to seduce Duane, as he seems to be the key to allowing her to finally escape the khert.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Duane demonstrates this before a pair of slavers, predicting their fates due to their role in the story.
    • Knock-Me-Down:
    "I got a policy of kids not watchin' me crash their parents. In ten years a masked avenger'll show up to ruin me day."
  • Gentle Giant: Uaid, the giant hollowed-out hill ogre of the Quigleys.
  • Gorn: Cope really loves her gore. The gore does tend to be more for dramatic or horrifying purposes than pure excitement, but it does dip into this occasionally.
    From Author Comment: Viscera are beautiful. I think we're lucky to have such pretty insides :3
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: How Cutter's silver is stopped (for now).
  • Glamour Failure: Glamours are relatively commonly used pymary, but they all tend to be rather fragile. For instance, Duane has employed two forms of pymary throughout the series, the first form he used only works as long as he avoids eye-contact, causing him to remain hooded at all times with the hood drawn low. The second method he employs later at Sette's insistence allows for eye contact, however it only works on the unknowing. If someone is told that he is using a glamour, they can see right through it. We see Bastion use a third method which draws features from the people around him that appears differently for anyone viewing him. He gets caught when people start talking about him and all describe him with completely different features and even skin color.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Etalarche Curse is so fundamentally vile and damning that it took a theocratic police state 10 years of political debates before they could stomach using it on an extremely effective rebel leader. It is so seldomly used that it has only been cast less than 12 times in the entirety of history, with it's namesake, the grandson of Ssael himself, being the very first victim.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Sneaking into Duane's room to kidnap Sette is a bad idea. Would have been a Sound-Only Death if not for the soundproofing.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Stockyard, until chapter 9 when Sette confronts him directly. However, this comes with the reveal that he is, himself, small fry, and that there are villains of even greater scope afoot. There are also hints that someone named "Delicieu,” a member of the Black Tongues, is heading the Red Berry Boys operation. He too is confronted directly at the climax of the first arc, and he too hints at the existence of greater villains.
    • The Greater-Scope Villain of the second arc is General Kima Bell of Cresce, who is sponsoring the First Silver Fantastic Nuke to escalate the war between Cresce and Alderode behind the queen's back. As the protagonists are far from the capital, they can't confront him directly, but they do have to deal with the consequences of his warmongering.
  • Green Rocks: "First" versions of various materials, supposedly from when the gods created the world. They're required to craft pymarics, as they're the only objects that can hold a permanent enchantment.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Just about everywhere you look. Very few characters are truly good, with even Duane, one of the most virtuous adults in the story has rather dark aspects to his character, most coming from his loyalty to Alderode and his hatred of Crescians (though considering they murdered him and his daughter, one can sympathize with his feelings). Matty is essentially the only purely good character, and he is also a rather young child. And then you get some truly sinister characters ranging from the pedophile slaver Starfish to the sadistic senet beast Ruck, who is a rapist in more ways than one.
    • Neither Cresce or Alderode are perfectly good or evil, with both sides having their good and bad sides. Cresce is arguably the more sympathetic country, which treats all its citizens equally and has a true communist system where everyone is given a job according to their talents and given comfortable enough living conditions. However, if one practices any religion besides Gefendur, they are burnt at the stake if found out, and the country has the unfortunate practice where twins are taken to be raised in a convent, where upon reaching adulthood the younger twin is ritually sacrificed and cannibalized. And, despite seeming like a communist country, they still retain the nobility. Alderode is a rather oppressive theocracy with strict gender roles and a strictly enforced caste system based upon hair color (which isn't completely arbitrary, hair color indicates the person's lifespan and general pymaric potential). Ironically, despite being a theocracy, Alderode is the only country in the setting with actual religious freedom. Ssaelism and Gefendur can both be worshipped freely, though Gefendur elements within the country are plotting to change that. Alderode does get another strike against it due to its use of child soldiers, however.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Starfish beats a wounded Ephsephin to death with a wine bottle.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Starfish receives his just deserts in the form of a dagger right in the family jewels when he tries to abduct Sette.
    • Sette hasn't, as yet, inflicted the classic kick in the balls on any character, but she likes to threaten it - and she's delighted with the idea of seeing Matty get hit in the nuts.
    Sette: Chalktop, you're gonna knock your pea-balls up inta your eye sockets and your eyeballs inta the mooooon.
  • Grumpy Bear: Rahm Pipa, self-described "meanest man in town.”
  • Guilt by Coincidence: Duane and Sette are mistaken for members of the Red Berry Boys while investigating an RBB hideout.
  • Hair Antennae: Sette seems to have somewhat downplayed ones.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A Mook chasing Duane is killed in this manner.
  • Harmful to Minors: As a young teenager, and during the course of 24 hours, Duane's brother Lemuel witnesses one of his friends and fellow soldiers get stabbed through the neck, causing him to have a small mental breakdown. The next day, he seems to have regained his sanity only to witness another friend and fellow soldiers step on essentially a pymeric landmine that caused him to swell up and explode into a shower of gore, causing one of his teeth to slash Lemuel's face (giving him the scar he has at present day.) He sports a rather depressingly impressive Thousand-Yard Stare after.
  • Hate Plague: Alderode has a weaponized self inflicted one in the form of the Etalarche curse. Alderode's leadership essentially brainwash everyone within the Dhammakhert's domain to absolutely fear and hate the targeted individual with every fabric of their being, meaning that every Alderode citizen will do anything and everything in their power to make sure the afflicted target dies a horrible painful death. The first victim and namesake of the curse, Etalarche, was cursed for betraying his grandfather Ssael (the Ssael) to his death. In the end Etalarche was violently torn limb from limb by an angry mob. It's considered such a vile and drastic measure that it has only been used less than 12 times in history and it took a decade of debate before Alderode's leadership decided to cast it on the leader of a large faction of Aldish rebels that threaten to destabilize all of Alderode. It has its limitations, however: it can only be cast on and only affects those who were born and changed by the Dhammakhert, so Alderode couldn't cast it on the queen of Cresce for example. Also, as Souds like Duane are not affected by the Dhammakhert, they cannot be targeted or affected by the curse either. Also the target must be within the Dhammakhert to be targeted (and Alds outside the Dhammakhert also won't be mentally affected either).
  • Healing Magic Is the Hardest: Pymary can sterilize wounds with perfect accuracy, stop bleeding, and support an injured area, but can't actually speed healing beyond maintaining a favourable environment.
  • Heroic BSoD: Anadyne suffers this after Toby and Stockyard's corpses are dumped in front of her. She completely ignores the climactic battle with an Eldritch Abomination going on behind her, as seen here.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In chapter 11, Elan throws himself in front of the enemy forces to ensure Elka makes it to safety; he doesn't last long before the enemy wrights crush him between pillars of earth. The villain scores some Irony points by calling him a coward as he does so. It's implied that he did it because he was going to die soon anyway, as he had a heart condition and had gone several days without his treatment.
  • Hilarious in Flashback:
    Duane, way before he met Sette (refering to his daughter Mikaila ): If I ever meet a more felonious and disrespectful little girl I'll kiss a Crescian!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While witnessing her father being beaten to death by thugs, Mikaila attempts to stun them with a flashbang spell. This does work as intended...but as the thugs flail around blindly, they stab her by mistake.
  • Horror Hunger: Duane and his metaphorical snake. Luckily he has it (mostly) under control.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Giant dogs are used as mounts, but they are also put to work as draft animals.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • A Love Hotel receptionist is grossed out by Turas participating in a (fake) sexual roleplay. It's also a bit of hypocritical humor on the author's part, since she roleplayed the Unsounded universe for a long time. The same receptionist can be seen reading an Interspecies Romance novel while squicking over Sette pretending to be Duane's lover.
      Vera (love hotel receptionist): The deviants are always roleplayers. Now, did you want Octopus Alley or the Squid Suite?
    • And there's this.
      Iori: If I ever meet the two-toe that did that to you I'll knock its teeth out!
      Jivi: I hit him with a stool.
      Iori: Well, violence is never the answer.
    • Duane espousing the virtues of peaceful diplomacy and level-headed negotiation shortly after punching a politician in the face. Lemuel calls him out on this.
  • Implausible Deniability: "I'm always nice," says Elka, immediately after OHKOing a random guard. A few pages earlier she was gleefully terrorizing several other unruly guards.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: When Duane's nature is revealed to Toma and Quigley, they immediately disregard the pressing threat in order to engage in I Knew It! with each other and theorize that he's a mindless plod under someone else's control while Duane is standing right there. Eventually he gets fed up and uses pymary to knock their heads together.
    Quigley: ...This makes sense. No legitimate human could be such a prancing twat-
    Duane: 'Legitimate?!' Plat, shall I legitimately drop you from another cliff?!
  • Inept Mage: One of the Red Berry Boys, Bette, casts spells by reading them directly out of a book with no understanding of the underlying principles, and Duane finds it trivial to seize control of his pymary. Duane's daughter Mikaila also makes a number of dangerous mistakes, although the fact that she's doing it at all at her age shows she has an aptitude for it.
  • Infinite Canvas: Makes liberal use of this, sometimes altering aspects of the website's background as well; see Painting the Medium, below. A notable example is a point where Sette falls through the page.
    Octopus Pymaric: Are you ready for something a little different?
  • In Medias Res: Chapter 1 starts with Sette and Duane already in the middle of their journey.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sette's tail is a lion's tail, and don't you forget it!
  • Intended Audience Reaction: Word of God explicitly says that Murkoph is designed to be as vile and hateable as possible, so the readers who despise him are perfectly justified in doing so.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Duane's intimate moment with Lady Ilganyag in the khert is rudely interrupted by Murkoph punching a hole through Duane's chest.
    Cope's commentary: "That's enough bird nookie for you, Romeo. Get your boney butt back to the plot."
  • Interrupted Suicide: Quigley in Orphans, twice.
  • Insult Misfire: Sette taunts Quigley, saying he couldn't couldn't spell "Dog" (in reply to him saying he would spell her into a cockroach). He in response spells out "Frummagem". As Sette is illiterate, she only catches that that isn't how dog is actually spelled, laughing to Duane about how wrong Quigley is, missing his insult.
  • In the Hood: Duane is almost always hooded, because direct eye contact tends to make him fumble the glamour concealing his skeletal face. Also, sunlight makes him itchy.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: The subtitle of every chapter takes this format. For example,
    • Chapter 01: The Reluctant Escort—In Which There Are Strange Beasts & Stranger Stirrings
    • Chapter 05: Darkening Sky—In Which Two Wrights Make A Wrong
    • The pattern is broken by chapter 10's subtitle, which is simply "Here There Be Monsters.”
    • The pattern is also broken by chapter 13's subtitle: "For Whom Do I Hope For Help, O Heavens, If Cruel Are Those Who Love Me?" This is a Shout-Out to La Susanna.
  • Ironic Death: Stockyard dies from hanging (which also decapitates him for good measure). He is clearly fixated on noose imagery (he ties his hair into noose shapes and uses noose iconography in his brothel), and his father was hanged —-with an implication that he took the fall to save his son, no less.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The correct Aldish pronunciation of Duane's name is doo-AHN (rhyming with you-GONE), but Sette makes a point of saying DWAYNE (rhyming with "rain"), mostly just to get his goat.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Plods are usually referred to as "it" and intentionally given as few identifying features as possible to avoid the Uncanny Valley effect. And Stockyard reveals his true colors when he refers to Duane as "it" in conversation.
    And your Da earning a queen's ransom getting it back where it goes.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Ephsephin. After getting thrashed by Duane and Sette multiple times... and then Captain Toma... you can't help but feel bad for him. Especially since he's made it clear that he's more or less a Punch-Clock Villain that's Just Following Orders.
    Ephsephin: I hate today.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Quigley's with the Red Berry Boys for the money, but he is completely against their brutal treatment of children and still cares for his son.
  • Kick the Dog:
  • Kill the Cutie: Both Cara and even more heartrendingly Mikaila, right in front of her father no less suffer this.
  • Lad-ette: Elka. Sette also counts as a pre-pubescent version.
  • Lame Comeback: Sette is a master at these. "Your face" seems to be her favorite.
  • Language of Magic: Old Tainish, which is what wrights speak their incantations in. It's said that it was the language the gods used to shape the world, so by speaking it yourself, you can tap into that same power. Naturally, though, you have to be careful and very specific with your language, otherwise the spell may just blow up your organs.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Murkoph to Sette in the khert, after an in-universe flashback to Duane's life.
    Sette: Wh-what's going on?!
    Murkoph: Flashback. Dream sequence. Hallucinatory rrrrrevelation. Who put the little girl in the lead? Where's the plot-hole you came in through, darlin'?
    • Also used in a more literal fashion for dramatic effect, with the borders of the comic getting played with to show when something is off with the khert. See here.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Sette has the same outfit for the entire story. Other characters have had to get different clothes whenever their current outfit gets damaged, but when Sette's blue shirt gets torn, she just happens to find an identical shirt in the town they were in, something she notes is pretty improbable.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Sette's tail, extremely sharp teeth and ability to smell magic suggest she's not entirely human, and in her dad's gang this leads people to speculate that she's not really his.
  • Lizard Folk: Called "two-toes" here, named after the fact that they have, well, two toes. They're pretty small compared to humans though. They used to be subterranean, so they have poor sight and hearing but excellent senses of smell, making them useful as trackers.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Duane's brother Lemuel has neck-length hair both as a teenager and as an adult. He is also much more popular with the ladies than Duane ever was (though ironically Duane is the one who got married, and to a beautiful woman no less.)
  • Love Hotels: Sette takes Duane to a Crescian equivalent, and manages to squick the attendant enough that she just slides the key across the counter.
  • Luminescent Blush: Duane does this here (especially in the lower-left panel), looking ridiculously cute in the process.
  • Made from Real Girl Scouts: Cannibal pie!
  • Madness Mantra: A question on his Formspring resulted in Duane giving an answer that ended in one of these. Could also count as a Survival Mantra.
  • Mad Scientist: The Black Tongues (or "Ilganyag") are a group of lawless pymary researchers limited only by their imaginations and their own morals. Some are sane, kind individuals who honestly want to aid humanity in their pursuits, but others are... less scrupulous.
    Rahm (a Black Tongue himself): The Black Tongues are one brotherhood but each of us act independently. Some seek to better the world through pymary; dismantle the woes of humanity! Others dismantle infants.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Pymary. Justified, though; see Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, below.
  • Magic Is Mental: Using it requires fluency in an archaic language and precise mathematical calculations.
  • Magic Knight: Duane is not only an exceptionally skilled wright but skilled with a Simple Staff as well. According to his Formspring account, when he was a military commander, he trained all the wrights under his command in weapon skills as well in order to defy Squishy Wizard.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: Sette has a supernaturally sensitive nose that can also smell magic, which is implied to be due to her uniquely strange connection to the Background Magic Field.
    Sette: [Watching a Wizard Duel] I'm gonna diiiiie... Stupid wrights, it's like they're fartin' at each other the most hostile way!
    Matty: Farts... You can smell pymary? I think it would smell lovely, like butter toast and Uaid feet.
    Sette: You know balls. Pymary stinks like greasy poo and tar.
  • Magitek: Pymarics. Usually of the bionic (replicating living creatures) variety. Due to how the magic system works, they can only be made out of special materials. Word of God explains in a colourful metaphor here.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: The reader might notice from the very first flashback images of Sette's "Da" Nary-A-Care that he lacks a tail and mouthful of sharp teeth. While we don't know what her mother looked like, it's been said that Sette is unique among the Frummagems, let alone the rest of the world, raising questions regarding her paternity. Sette comments briefly on a rumor about this, and seems inwardly concerned that she isn't Nary's daughter by blood. She is, however, determined to prove herself by merit.
  • The Man Behind the Man: On several levels. Stockyard is secretly helping Starfish and the Red Berry Boys transport the silver, which Cutter engineered and Stockyard and Elan claim is being abetted by the Queen of Cresce. Meanwhile, Stockyard captures Duane on what he claims was Nary Frummagem's instruction, and Nary was commissioned to return Duane to Alderode by the Aldish Lord Winalils, who was responsible for Duane's reanimation in the first place.
  • Marriage of Convenience: Though outwardly they portray it as marrying for love, the marriage between Queen Sonorie and the Aldish Roger Foi Hellick is this. Roger's soul has been changed in a way no other living Aldishman can claim due to being the victim of the Etelarch curse. He and Sonorie are working together so that Cresce may learn of a method to change or even destroy the Dhammakhert that surrounds Alderode, which would be crippling to them. There is nothing romantic between them (especially since Roger is gay), but they do have a close relationship of respect at the least. Though the outward ruse may throw off Alderode to what Sonorie is really up to, it also has the added side effect of making certain powerful people within her country think she has gone soft towards their eternal enemy.
  • Master of Illusion: Sort of. The illusory arts are Duane's favourite type of pymary, not necessarily because of practical application, but because of the artistic possibilities. He's still better at combat spells, though.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During the flashback to the day that Duane was murdered, at one point he passes by Bastion, the man who orchestrated his death and brought him back to life.
  • Meaningful Echo: Jivi's spectacular entrance echoes words from much earlier in the comic.
  • Messianic Archetype: Ssael is something of a stand in for Jesus. He is the centrally worshiped figure of a religion that stems from another religion (though for very different reasons than Judaism.) Both Ssael and Jesus were killed due to their radical ideas. And the methods of their deaths became major icons in the resulting religions (the cross for Jesus, a lion for Ssaelism). The comparison ends there though as what they did after dying was completely different (Jesus rose from the dead while Ssael stayed in the realm of the dead and killed the Gefendur gods).
  • Mind Screw: In chapter 7. It starts when Sette falls through the page, and only gets weirder from there.
  • Mistress and Servant Boy: Sette and Duane, with the twist that the mistress is prepubescent.
  • Missing Mom: Sette claims her mother drowned when she was a baby; since Nary is her only source for this, who knows if it's true? She doesn't particularly seem to care, though.
  • Mood Dissonance: Duane's idealistic speech about waging war with honor and decency is contrasted with pictures of his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. "Only in Alderode are we free”, indeed.
  • Monster Whale: Typhoon Whales are vast, primordial entities from The Time of Myths, flying over the oceans and bringing hurricanes in their wake.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Because the inak 'two-toes' can't use pymary, they don't have the option of spelling their ailments away and thus have a far better understanding of medicine, biology and how the body actually works. They've cottoned on to germ theory while the humans of Kasslyne think wounds get infested with ghosts from the khert, and an elderly inak is able to explain basic brain mechanics to a sceptical human audience.
  • Musical Episode: Despite being a comic with no actual audio, the story has multiple musical numbers. The first instance at the brothel was probably the most out of nowhere however; the second and third instances were Bastion and Duane and his brother entertaining guests and fellow soldiers respectively. But they were still involved musical numbers with proper choreography.
  • The Namesake: The title "Unsounded" seems like it's just a cool sounding fantasy name, but it's actually the place in the khert where all souls go after death before reincarnating, and is also where the gods or Ssael is depending on your religion. It is called the unsounded because wrights have been able to map out much of the khert through a technique known as sounding, but the technology isn't powerful enough to sound out the depths of the khert, so that place is the "unsounded". The story doesn't even begin to involve the khert itself until 7 chapters in, with most of the story just involving the living world.
  • Nausea Fuelinvoked: In-Universe, Sette's description of an infected toe.
    Duane: I'm six years without a stomach yet you've turned it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Sette frees Murkoph from a supernatural prison after he promises to help her escape. Turns out that was a bad idea, because he's enough of a psychopath to put Starfish to shame.
  • Noble Bigot: Almost every main character, except for Sette, who's sort of the opposite. Duane is an Alderode nationalist who hates Cresce and is disdainful of of the Gefendur religion. Jivi and Toma are Crescians who hate Alderode. Quigley doesn't care for any of the above. And all of them save Sette think Duane is an abomination for being a sentient zombie (Duane himself also thinks this), though all other zombies are mindless drones, so this is somewhat understandable. Matty is the only one who isn't burdened with any real prejudices. They are all still decent people for the most part.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Duane suffered one in the past as punishment for striking a politician. Parts of it are shown via Flashback Cut here.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: A commonly-asked question on Ashley's Formspring is the pronunciation of the characters' names. A guide to the two protagonists' names can be found here however.
  • No Woman's Land: Alderode doesn't give you a ton of options if you're female; women are meant to be wives and mothers and little else. (Unless they're from the Platinum caste; then they're often 'encouraged' to go into the sex trade.) They're not really expected to have jobs and certainly not have careers outside their ghers, plus they're not allowed to own property, vote or even use pymary, unless it's for making things look pretty. Not that different from plenty of past and present cultures in the real world, but it says a lot when a woman's best chance for real power and autonomy is the chance to take the Third Option and legally be seen and treated as a man; plenty of women from the Copper caste, who are relatively more liberated thanks to their long lifespans, take this route. But even then, women in the ghers communities primarily take the Third Option because they're forced to do it, since there may be no male heir in the family and, again, women can't own property or inherit. The other countries on the continent, particularly the matriarchal Cresce, condemn such misogyny as incredibly backward and barbaric.
  • The Nose Knows: Sette's is as acute as a scent hound, with sensitivity to magic on top.
  • Odd Couple: He's an elegant lich sorcerer. She's the foul-mouthed child of a thief king. Together, they... walk across a continent.
  • Offerings to the Gods:
    • The Gefendur often leave small offerings of money or goods at statues of the Twin Gods when they pray. The Lovable Rogue Sette tries bribing the Mother Yerta to turn a blind eye to the underhanded business she's planning.
    • In Alderode, people often burn locks of their hair as offerings when they pray. It's a symbolic gesture, as hair is the basis of their Fantastic Caste System and the subject of some superstition about Sympathetic Magic.
  • Off with His Head!: Stockyard is decapitated by a razor-wire noose.
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Oh My Gods!: Averted in the case of one religion, played straight in another. Ssaelit are monotheist, and so use "God" in the same way Judeo-Christians do for the most part. The Gefendur, being polytheists, have more unique religious exclamations.
  • Older Than They Look: Sette apparently stopped aging a few years ago, which makes her attractive to Starfish and a liability to her Da.' Her real age is unknown.
  • One Scene, Two Monologues: In chapter 8, after Duane realizes he is in Cresce, he goes on a self-righteous tirade while at the same time Sette rambles about her time in the khert. This is represented by the speech bubbles overlapping each other.
  • Origins Issue:
    • Chapter 7, composed primarily of a Whole Episode Flashback detailing Duane's life when he was alive, including the events that led to his death and reanimation.
    • The supplemental story Orphans is this for Quigley, detailing his time with the Black Tongues and establishing some of his motivations.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Vliegeng, the Aldish national mascot, are the closest thing the setting has to them. They're highly intelligent, and fly by gliding along the khert lines. Elite Aldish soldiers ride them.
  • Our Humans Are Different: Humans are unique in that they demonstrably possess a soul, which lets them access the Background Magic Field of the Khert and delivers their memories to the Khert upon death. Other sapient beings, such as the ancient Senet Beasts and the "Two-Toe" Lizard Folk, see this with some envy or consternation, not least because the dominant religion takes this as proof that Humanity Is Superior.
  • Our Liches Are Different: Duane fits this better than any other typical undead creature (though even then it's not a perfect fit, as he does not seem to have a Soul Jar); he has retained complete sentience despite being identical to an ordinary plod in most other respects. This appears to be a quite rare (if not unique) condition; Duane somehow maintaining his intelligence after his death and reanimation is evidently quite strange.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Actually something of a return to the original voodoo-zombie tradition. "Plods" are corpses that were deliberately reanimated with pymary, and are widely used as a cheap source of slave labor. They are considered quite ordinary in the countries that "employ" them; making a mindless magical meat-puppet do punishing work for days at a time is considered to be a more humane practice than enslaving living, feeling humans. Ssaelism, an offshoot religion that demands respectful treatment of human bodies, disagrees with this.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The Black Tongues believe that the Twins and Ssael are false gods created by mankind and believe themselves beyond such superstitions. Interestingly though, Ilganyag, the source of much of the knowledge they have gained and the namesake of their organization (Ilganyag translates to Black Tongue), casually tells Duane that the Twins did exist and Ssael slew them, as Ssaelism states, though whether Ssael truly has achieved godhood has not been said. There is of course the very real question of how much Ilganyag is just manipulating Duane, but we do see Ilganyag mourning Ssael's disappearance with the added implication that he is Sette's father.
  • Painting the Medium: Characters lean across the comic borders, and some explosions leave debris across the page. The pages are made to look like a torn up notebook, but the background sometimes changes to reflect scenes in the story. A notable example is Murkoph grabbing a knife from the header image during chapter 9.
  • People of Hair Color: The people of Alderode have demonyms derived from their hair colors, such as Coppers, Silvers and Plats.
  • Pet the Dog:
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Though the shot is from behind, the end of this strip has Murkoph in a very Pieta-like pose as he holds the flayed skin of his torso. This is quite a juxtaposition, as Murkoph is a highly depraved and sacrilegious character.
  • The Place: The comic is named for many things. One of them being a place where the gods might be.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Duane spends time with the prostitutes of the Nevergreen by reading scripture to them. The prostitutes' response is to fall asleep from boredom.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: There's a reason Duane always has his hood up.
  • The Pollyanna: Young Matty Quigley. According to his bio on the cast page, "Three years ago Matty was struck blind but he still manages to see most silver linings."
  • Powers as Programs: Every human in Kasslyne is born with a connection to the Khert, so anyone can become a spellwright through a pymaric rite that allows them to speak to the Khert through that connection. A rare few are born with that enhanced connection already in place.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Queen Sonorie limits blind patriotism in a time of war, shows patience and restraint, has many allies and friends instead of constant paranoia, and refuses to develop a WMD with massive collateral damage even if it could help her conquer the world. But behind closed doors, she's the one who ripped her husband's mind open with soul-melting neurotoxin to extract his Alderode state secrets, and outright admits to her council that she is sponsoring a cult of mad scientists with the intention of pardoning their crimes in exchange for permanent employment in Cresce.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Most of Starfish's employees, since none of them can measure up to his horrible bastardness. Except Cutter.
  • Put Their Heads Together: When Duane's nature is revealed to Toma and Quigley, they immediately disregard the pressing threat in order to engage in I Knew It! with each other and theorize that he's a mindless plod under someone else's control while Duane is standing right there. Eventually he gets fed up and uses pymary to knock their heads together.
    Quigley: ...This makes sense. No legitimate human could be such a prancing twat-
    Duane: 'Legitimate?!' Plat, shall I legitimately drop you from another cliff?!
  • Raised Catholic: Or rather Gefendur. Quigley grew up in a Aldish town that was Gefendur rather than Ssaelist, causing him to look upon Ssaelists like Duane with disdain. That said, he doesn't seem to be very devout to the Twins either, though he uses them as epithets like other Gefendur do.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Implied for the Shadwe, who says Duane is "the finest wright I have seen in centuries."
    • All Jets and Coppers are potentially like this, due to their incredibly long lifespans.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Queen Sonorie is reluctant to accept the guilt of Ethelmik until more concrete evidence is found of any crimes that justified the town's destruction.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Was Mallory really just using Roger and secretly hated him, or were the vile words he was spewing before his death simply caused by the Etarlarche curse? Roger will never know, and neither will the reader.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The yellow fish spirits in the khert.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Quigley reportedly went on one of these after the government killed his wife Vienne, blinded Matty and confiscated Uaid the construct. He strapped Matty to his back and attacked the municipal office in a suicide run...which he managed to survive.
  • Royal Brat: Sette, by virtue of being a crime-king's daughter, though her brattishness is perhaps better explained by the rest of the clan's habit of kicking the shit out of her on a daily basis.
  • Running Gag: The play written about Quigley that's very popular in Cresce. Every time he meets a new Crescian character, they inevitably bring up the play at some point, much to his dismay.
  • Say It with Hearts: The Nevergreen's greeters.
  • Scenery Censor: In Chapter 12: Page 39, a Water Woman's privates are covered by hair.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Murkoph, who is trapped in the khert, imprisoned by his own memories. Sette frees him.
  • Secret Test of Character: In a side story about how Duane met his wife, we learn when he was moved to his caste's upper wards, there were many families who wanted to marry their daughters off to him, the new teacher of wrights in a major military unit. Of all of them, there was one woman who wasn't throwing herself at him. She had a cleft lip and a lazy eye, which put Duane off but he could see there was something else behind her eyes. She corners him at the church while he is praying to question him about whether the rumors that he murdered a fellow student at school were true (he had killed a student, but it was because he had been addled from a blow to the head from behind and used a lethal pymary without meaning to). After prodding him about his appearance and getting him to imply he plans to marry her (and glamour her face into something more attractive, Leysa removes a pymaric pin from her dress that causes the glamour on her face to dispel and return her eye and lip back to normal. She just wanted to make sure he wasn't a shallow man (or a murderer).
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: All the Aldish characters that have appeared so far seem prone to using vastly more complicated sentences and words than most of the other characters, though Duane is especially heavy on the long-winded Shakespearian dialogue, even compared to his fellow Aldishmen.
    • Murkoph shares this trait, although in a much more crude manner.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: Gruftgrammer Quigley enjoys manifesting his pymary in the form of swarms of insects (appropriately named Swarm), due to 'insect' being a very common insult to the short-lived Plats.
    • Most wrights do this to a certain extent —-their pymary can be tinted any colour they choose (for example, Duane likes to use green and gold).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Sette can pull off the polished look if she puts in the effort, which she rarely does.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The flashback to Duane's life as a non-undead man with a wife and children is both this and Foregone Conclusion, especially for Mikaila, who gets quite a bit of character development before her sudden Impaled with Extreme Prejudice death at the hands of thugs who weren't even trying to kill her.
  • Shout-Out: When voyaging in the Khertnote  and looking for a way out, Sette indignantly and emphatically states I aint dead!
    • Captain Claggert, Duane's superior in the military back when he was younger, is oddly enough a dead-ringer for Mike Stoklasa from RedLetterMedia. The wright under his command also happens to look a fair amount like Rich Evans (and is even named Evans) from the same channel.
  • Showing Up Chauvinists: Vienne was a genius Magitek engineer and forgemaster who creates a revolutionary Construct design. She got by in her isolated village, but magic is illegal for women in her country, which led her to funnel aid to La Résistance and ultimately got her killed. In a prequel story, a resentful employee reports her to State Sec, so she evaporates the agent's head in front of him.
    Vienne: No one lets me do anything.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Duane and his younger brother Lemuel are about as different as two brothers can be. Duane is master class wright while Lemuel is an expert warrior. Duane never quite fit in with being a foot soldier while Lemuel took to it like a fish to water. Duane has always been something of an awkward nerd while Lemuel was a very cool flirt who all the girls wanted. Lemuel has long flowing hair while Duane was balding at the time of his death. And probably most importantly, while Duane seems to have kept his sanity despite all the horrible things that have happened to him, it is implied that something has broken inside of Lemuel from the horrors of the civil war he endured as a relatively young teenager. About the only thing they have in common is being badass and being devoted Ssaelites.
  • Simplified Spellcasting: Tacit casting, i.e. casting without the verbal component. It's an inherent trait, made possible by a mutation that allows wrights to "think" at the khert. Duane is capable of it, and it runs in his family.
  • Sir Swearsalot: Sette is as vulgar as you'd expect for a child raised by thieves, but never goes beyond a PG-13 rating (unlike the villains, who drop F-bombs).
    Duane: Betimes the words that pour out your young mouth send chills through me.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Beautifully subverted here.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: Duane and a fellow student at the academy, Sarthos, as detailed in the side story Interior Emanations. Firstly because a relationship with anyone outside your caste is an extreme social taboo —-and secondly because Sarthos, as a Third Option (see below), is legally a man.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Aldish patriarchy believes women should be cosseted and protected, and that anything other than aesthetic pymary is "unfit for the gentler sex". One of the reasons Alderode hates Cresce is because they're disgusted by the way Crescian forces put women right on the front line.
  • Sticky Fingers: Sette.
  • Strange Salute: In Alderode, the standard salute is to touch the middle and ring fingers to the forehead, palm towards the face. The most formal version, used as Due to the Dead or as a gesture of sincere humility and deference, is to cover the face with the whole hand and bow deeply.
  • Strip Buffer: In a tumblr post, it's revealed that Ms Cope keeps a buffer of at least fifty pages.
  • Stripperiffic: If this image is anything to go by, the clothing of the Crescian nobility (male and female) is elaborate, colorful and very revealing.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: According to Word of God, the reason magic is called "pymary" and not "magic" is because "magic" implies something unknown or mystical. This is not the case with pymary; it is a common fact of life and essential part of society. It's even taught in schools!
  • Suicide by Cop: Quigley attempts this (and fails) at the end of Orphans.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Sette's olfactory talents extend to being able to smell magic.
  • Take a Third Option: What happens if you're a woman in Alderode who isn't content with being a housewife, and wants to partake in a role normally only filled by men? Become a literal Third Option! Specifically, agree to be sterilized, bind your breasts and dress and act like a man in every way. If you do well, you'll be allowed to stay in your role, and eventually even marry (another woman) and adopt children! Just be prepared for more than a little discrimination along the way...and if you don't manage to prove yourself, you'll be exiled by your society.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted hilariously by Duane and Ephsephin's second brawl when the former gives his eloquent Let's Get Dangerous! speech. Cue facepalm from Sette.
  • Tap on the Head: Subverted. When Starfish subdues Quigley through this method, he is only knocked unconscious for half a minute at most.
  • The Reveal: Cutter is Delicieu (or at least taking up his identity), keeping careful watch over his First Silver experiment.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: When trying to comfort Duane in her own way about his dead daughter Mikaila, Sette reckons that Mikaila will be reborn as someone wild and ruthless, like an assassin, a bear hunter, a serial killer, or a banker.
  • There Was a Door: Jivi piloting Uaid.
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: Everyone gets stranded at Litrya Shrine just days before they were set to put on a play about the Gefendur creation myth. Sette somehow gets chosen to play Tirna, and schemes with Sara, a girl she met at the shrine, to have Duane show up midplay as Ssael to ruin it (Sara is bored and wants to spice the event up). However, Duane for the past few days has been undergoing a MAJOR case of Sanity Slippage due to multiple factors. He ends up assaulting Sara, scaring off Siya, Sara's twin who had been sympathetic to him, and apparently completely losing his mind after Lori's owl attacks him, ripping off half of the skin remaining on his face before he eats the bird alive and runs off the stage.
  • Title Drop:
    • Not the name of the comic itself, but a chapter, here.
    • The comic's title is dropped in the Interior Emanations side story —-Duane expresses a desire to "sound the unsounded."
      • The title of that side story is also dropped, as the name of the paper Duane and his new friend Sarthos are writing. In universe, it is a reference to their theories on the inner workings of pymary and, out of universe (though Duane manages to make some connections himself in story), a reference to the side story's themes of personal character and skill being more than what appears on the surface.
    • The title is finally dropped in the comic proper here.
    • Chapter 11: "Only a cause directs a good man against his nature."
    • Chapter 12: We find out where Duane got his phrase from - an atheist Black Tongue: "Sound the great unsounded. Beat at the gods' door and hear it ring hollow!"
  • Tomboy: Take a wild guess.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies:
    • The chapter preview for chapter 6 claims that "not everyone will live to see the sunrise." Ephsephin kicks it midway through, and Turas at the very end.
    • Similarly, the preview for chapter 10 promises that "some heads will be lost.” This turns out to be literal in one case.
  • Touch the Intangible: Rahm, a rogue spellwright in the Black Tongue Ancient Conspiracy, can touch and harm the otherwise-Intangible Timofey, to Timofey's considerable dismay. It's all the more impressive because Timofey, as a Construct, is effectively made of Anti-Magic.
  • Translation Punctuation: The comic uses angle brackets when translating Tainish to Continental. However, lines spoken in Tainish are occasionally left untranslated. Translations of these lines can be found in the series wiki.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback:
    • Glimpses of Sette's life at home are occasionally shown in dark, damaged, and obscured panels, suggesting that her dear ol' Da is not a great guy, contrary to what she claims him to be.
    • Quigley gets one in chapter 6.
    • Duane's tragic backstory is revealed in chapter 7.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: We learn the identity of the mastermind behind the First Silver operation, "Delicieu,” midway through the first arc. It's not until the end that we learn that name is an alias adopted by Cutter.
  • Undignified Death: Stockyard, previously an imposing and dignified crime boss, dies while blubbering about his father and begging for a child to save him. The smoke eels in the area are quick to mock him for this.
  • Urine Trouble: Sette startles Matty while he's using the bucket in his prison cell. Startled, his aim slips upwards to the barred window Sette is talking though.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: Quigley wakes up after a Near-Death Experience to find that his son and an ally have brought them to safety and that his injuries are bandaged. He doesn't remark on his nudity at first, but over breakfast...
    Quigley: For your generosity, madam, we are indebted.
    Iori: Oh, you paid your debt last night when I stitched that head of yours. I haven't had my hands all over a man so pretty since...
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ephsephin does not take the events of chapter 5 well.
  • Villainous Rescue: Stockyard may have tied her to the chair in the first place, but he does play the cavalry nicely in chapter 10, saving Sette from in-progress molestation (and very likely an in-progress kidnapping, given how he was untying her) by Starfish with a well-timed punch.
  • We Are as Mayflies:
    • The Copper and Jet castes in Alderode can live up to 400 and 250 respectively, and so tend to accumulate the most political and economic power in their families.
    • Inverted with the Platinum caste, who die of accelerated old age at 30. The Gefendur faith believes them to be on their last mortal incarnation before being called to join the gods. The Silver caste lives a little longer, generally lasting about 50 years naturally.
    • In the middle lie the Bronze and Gold castes. The Bronze live anywhere from 50 to 150 years. The Golds live as long as the average human, as they are average humans. They are the one caste that is unaffected by the Dhammakhert. They are just genetically brilliantly blonde which coincidentally fits them into the thematic scheme of the castes.
    • Senet beasts live forever unless an outside force kills them. However, since new senet beasts are never born, humans as a species might very well outlive them all.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Sette and Duane do not get along together at the beginning to say the least. Sette doesn't like how moralizing Duane is and would rather him just act as her attack zombie, while Duane grates against Sette's rudeness and lack of empathy for others. They do start getting along better as time passes, but Sette's repeated lies about where she is taking Duane take a toll on their relationship. It isn't until they reach their true destination and escape betrayal and disaster that they seem to find a real understanding.
  • What Measure Is A Nonhuman: Sette, in one of her darkest moments, reveals her fear that she isn't human. Duane reassures her on this point, pointing out that the language of magic considers her human.
  • Wham Episode:
  • Wham Line:
    • Stockyard revealing the true purpose of Sette's mission:
      Stockyard: 'Course [I know what Duane is]! A fancy new plod got away from its master, eh? And your Da earning a queen's ransom getting it back where it goes.
    • The first arc's villain is revealed this way:
      Cutter: I've little use for names but perhaps when your rotting tongue is finished screaming it can manage "Delicieu". How do you do.
    • "Who reanimated Duane?" is a longstanding question throughout the first arc. In chapter 11 it's revealed in a single line:
      Bastion: I brought [Duane] back! Bastion Winalils beat death!
    • Stated by Lady Ilganyag, seemingly proving that Ssaelism is technically the more "correct" religion of the setting,:
      Ilganyag: Oh Ssael. My friend, where are you?
  • Wham Shot:
    • One page after the reveal that Lady Ilganyag knows and misses Ssael, we see ''baby Sette'' in the khert, sitting next to a baby lion. Considering that lions are an important icon in Ssaelism, it is heavily implied that Ssael is Sette's father.
    • At the end of Chapter 15, the storms around Litraya Shrine have cleared...meaning an Aldish strike force can attack and destroy the shrine, the weapons that Cresce have been created, and anyone in the building. And leading the strike force is Lemuel Adelier.
  • When Trees Attack: The Mamalen Entak (Wandering Root) was the antagonist of the first chapter. Bittersweet portrayal.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • The majority of chapter 7 is a flashback to Duane's life before he became a zombie. The beginning of the chapter has a few unrelated scenes that advance the present-day plotline, however.
    • Chapter 14 is Duane telling the story of his meeting with the Salt Lizard, a senet beast worshiped by the local two-toes, back in his military days.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Inverted. When General Bell pulls a You Know Too Much on an Innocent Bystander, his assistant quips that he could have just asked her to keep quiet.
  • Wizard Duel: Duane and Quigley in chapter 5. By the end, though, it turns into an all-out brawl as Quigley starts breaking rules with abandon, culminating in him calling a powerful summon beast.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Red Berry Boys target children to capture, vivisect, and stuff full of silver that traps them in a tortured coma to feed off their pain. Their leader Starfish is a sadistic pedophile.
    • Murkoph has taken a bite out of Sette.
    • By necessity, any country that comes into conflict with Alderode and its Plat soldiers, including Alderode itself during civil wars.
  • Wretched Hive: Sharteshane.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A critically wounded Ephsephin begs Starfish for a doctor. Instead, he decided to put him out of his misery...gleefully.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Vienne of Seferpine reveals that Vienne had a pymaric weapon that could do this, kept for self-defense in case the government came for her.
    • In combat, Quigley wields the Solidity of nearby rocks to swat people's heads into goo.

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