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Duane: Consider it, Sette. If a tree could think thoughts, what might it value most of all?Sette: That's STOOPID. Walky roots are STOOPID critters.
Sette: Your face.
Duane: Tranquility. Peace in which to thrive and grow. Acutely empathic, it will with hostility react to your hostility. Entreat it with tranquility, however, and it will in like fashion answer.
Rude, loud-mouthed Sette Frummagem has been sent by her Da' to get the jukrum, the cut owed to the Boss-King thief, from her cousin who's "gotten too fancy for his pants." Accompanying her is Duane Adelier, a markedly eloquent Galit who was, uh, persuaded to protect Sette from the dangers of the realm.
Unsounded is a webcomic by Ashley Cope.
- Achilles Heel / Anti-Magic: For some reason, pymary doesn't work over large expanses of water, such as the ocean.
- All There in the Manual: Sort of. There's a ton of miscellaneous information about the setting and characters on Ashley's Formspring and her wiki.
- And I Must Scream: 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.
- 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.
- Artificial Limbs: Lost an arm? No problem. There's a whole range of simulacrums. Including cigar-lighting and self-lubricating.
- Art Shift:
- Author Catchphrase: Kind of. Ashley's typical response to people asking spoiler-y or story-related questions on her Formspring is simply "I wonder."
- Background Magic Field / The Force: 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.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Sette.
- Breaking in Old Habits: See Artificial Limbs above.
- Butt Monkey: Ephsephin.
- The Brute: Ephsephin.
- 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?"
- Cluster S Bomb: Ephsephin.
Ephsephin: YOU SHIT! YOU SHIT! I'LL- I'LL S-SHITTING SHIT YOUR SHIT TIL YOU... CAN'T SHIT!
- Cultured Badass: Duane. Also Quigley.
- Curse Cut Short: Subverted here.
- Cute Shotaro Boy: Matty Quigley.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Duane is one of the walking dead. He is also arguably one of the most decent people in the comic.
- 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.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Sette has yet to put on any footwear, from the very first panel on. Although it isn't explained if this is a cultural thing, a personal preference, or her Da simply won't buy shoes for her; it's just treated as her natural state.
- 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.)
- Exact Words: "Kill me? A perplexing command."
- The Faceless/In the Hood: Duane seems to have some kind of face underneath that hood, but 99 percent of the time the upper half of his head is blacked out by his hood. According to Word of God, the glamour that makes his face look normal is broken by eye contact, so naturally, he needs something to cover his eyes. This is the reason why we only see what he really looks like when we can also see his eyes.
- Fat Bastard: Starfish.
- 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.
- Frame Break: Particularly momentous events spill over the sides of the comic.
- 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 that 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.
- Genre Savvy: Duane demonstrates this before a pair of slavers, predicting their fates due to their role in the story.
- Gentle Giant: Uaid, the giant hollowed-out Ogre of the Quigleys.
- Ghost Shipping: Fans are quick to point out the potential of a romantic relationship between Sette and Duane, or at least a father/daughter one.
- Guilt by Coincidence
- Horror Hunger: Duane and his metaphorical snake. Luckily he has it (mostly) under control.
- Horse of a Different Color: Giant dogs are put to work as draft animals in Kasslyne, as well as transport.
- Infant Immortality: Brutally averted with Cara.
- 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.
- Jerkass Woobie: Ephsephin, as of late. 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.
- Kick the Dog: Literally, on this page.
- Ladette: Elka.
- 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.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: Letters written by a researcher who's found Duane's journal are inserted here and there, implying that the comic is (possibly) pieced together from his and other accounts.
- 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.
- Magic Is Mental
- 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.
- Magitech: 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.
- 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.
- Mistress and Servant Boy: Sette and Duane, with the twist that the mistress is prepubescent.
- No Pronunciation Guide: A commonly-asked question on Ashely's Formspring is the pronunciation of the characters' names. A guide to the two protagonists' names can be found here however.
- The Nose Knows: Sette.
- Oblivious Adoption: Sette mightn't be as oblivious as some, but she wants to believe she's her father's daughter. Despite the tail.
- Odd Couple: He's an elegant lich sorcerer. She's the foul-mouthed child of a thief king. Together, they... walk across a country.
- Our Liches Are Different: Called "galits" in this universe. Duane is one of them. Not to be confused with the "plods", as seen below. They appear to be quite rare (although Sette not knowing a word certainly doesn't guarantee its rarity); 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. The "plods" of the East are corpses that were deliberately reanimated with magic, 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 said to be a more humane practice than enslaving living, feeling humans.
- Older Than They Look: Plats in general, but their lifespans are incredibly short.
- People of Hair Color: The people of Alderode have demonyms derived from their hair colors, such as Coppers, Silvers and Plats.
- 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."
- Royal Brat
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Duane uses big words and a lot of them.
- Simplified Spellcasting: Tacit casting, i.e. casting without the verbal component. Duane is unusually adept at this.
- 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.
- Small Annoying Creature: Sette.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Beautifully subverted here.
- Sticky Fingers: Sette.
- 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!
- Supernatural Sensitivity: Sette's olfactory talents extend to being able to smell magic.
- Tomboy: Take a wild guess.
- 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.
- 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.
- We Are as Mayflies:
- Inverted with the Plats. They're fairly supernatural, having an increased affinity towards the khert (or something), which gives them heightened magical abilities. However, this also causes them to age very rapidly, so they can only live up to about 30.
- Inverted in a different way with the Coppers, who are notoriously awful wrights, but very long-lived.
- When Trees Attack: The Mamalen Entak (Wandering Root) was the antagonist of the first chapter. Bittersweet portrayal.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Quigley, and Plats in general. Combine with We Are as Mayflies above.
- 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. And not just a child but children, plural. And they seem to delight in it, except for Quigley, who leaves the Red Berry Boys' service for this exact reason, and rejoins only due to a heftier reward.
- Starfish especially has been confirmed by Word of God to be a pedophile.