Unsounded is a webcomic by Ashley Cope. The thirty page long first chapter was first posted on July 14, 2010. The following month, regular updates of three pages a week began. Month long breaks between chapters are standard, allowing the artist to rebuild a healthy buffer of pages, and generally recover her wits.
The comic follows the adventures of Sette Frummagem, a foul-mouthed and amoral girl with a tail, and her adult bodyguard, an undead wright named Duane Adelier. Alternating between light-hearted humour and moments of macabre horror, Unsounded is recommended for mature readers.
01: An Unwilling Escort
After three weeks on the road, obnoxious and cocksure Sette Frummagem leads her zombie bodyguard far off the beaten path. Sette is on a mission for her father, the leader of a criminal family in the country of Sharteshane, and the zombie has been blackmailed into aiding her. While the pair is bickering over this fact, a monstrous tree beast swoops upon the zombie and tidily devours him. Happy to abandon her comrade in favour of this new arrival, Sette attempts to negotiate a partnership, but the tree-beast wants nothing to do with her. Negotiations quickly turn violent, and Sette is rescued from obliteration when the zombie explodes from the tree-beast's innards. Refusing to see reason, Sette insists the monster has some value and attempts to attack it. Its wrath piqued, the tree-beast moves to strike, and the zombie must incinerate it to ensure his charge's safety. Later, Sette and her bodyguard awkwardly apologise to each other and continue their journey.
02: The Red Berry Boys
Sette's mission is apparently to bully money from her cousin, a family member who moved west years ago to expand the business but who stopped sending tribute home. The task is explained in grandiose terms by Sette, who claims that she's the only one her father trusts with such an important affair. Her bodyguard (who introduces himself as Duane Adelier) is dubious. Eager to impress him Sette waxes rhapsodic over her supposedly supernatural sense of smell, explaining she has the ability to smell sorcery itself. But it's blood she suddenly scents on the air, causing Duane to rush to the rescue of a pair of children being assaulted by would-be kidnappers. Duane soundly trounces the fiends, displaying great proficiency with stick-fighting and the art of Pymary, a sort of sorcery that involves switching about the Aspects of different matter. One of the children explains that the kidnappers were part of a gang of slavers called the Red Berry Boys, and that Crescian Peaceguard have been hot on their trail for some time. Duane swears to find the rest of the gang, and sets off into the forest - much to Sette's displeasure.
The slavers' hideout is revealed to be deep inside a crumbling Gefendur crypt. Once inside, Duane and Sette find they are too late, and the building has been very recently abandoned. Further in, Duane discovers a partially eviscerated, dying child and is unsuccessful in his attempt to save her. Returning to the central chamber of the crypt, he stumbles upon a band of Peaceguard who mistake him for one of the slavers, and blows are exchanged. Duane and Sette escape, leaving one of the Peaceguard gravely injured.
03: A Miserable Drizzle
Hours later, the Red Berry Boys' leader, a crabby man named Starfish, is begging white-haired Aldish wright Mathis Quigley to rejoin their gang. Quigley is reticent to deal with children, but finally relents when Starfish offers both more money and the childrens' eventual release. The news dispirits Quigley's son Matty who was hoping they would leave the foul work behind at last and travel to Sharteshane.
Waiting out the rain at a waystation, Sette stocks up on supplies as Duane recovers from their ordeal in the crypt. Returning with new clothes, Sette finds the zombie agitated and suspicious. He demands to know how they have come to be so far west and near the country of Cresce. He's adamant against entering Cresce, damning the country's people, its Queen, and even the Gefendur gods at large. Sette insists that she has no choice but to keep pushing them west and that if she fails in her mission for her father, she'll never be allowed to run the family herself - and in fact, her father may let the rest of the family dispose of her. Distraught, Duane reveals that the recently spilled blood awakened an unnatural hunger in him, one endemic to creatures of his composition, and that nearing Cresce will do no good things for his self-control. Still, he relents, and Sette promises they are almost at their destination. With the Peaceguard on their tail, they flee into the rain.
A week later, Sette and Duane find themselves on the outskirts of the Ulestrian city of Mulimar. Elsewhere, Quigley and the slavers are also approaching Mulimar, and break for lunch just out of sight to wait to enter under cover of night. Quigley's son Matty tags along with Ephsephin to enter the town on foot for food and medicine. Sette also decides to go into town, assuring Duane she will be fine on her own while he remains behind to tend to an injured leg. Disguised and merry, Sette infiltrates Mulimar in search of a guardsman named Elan Aled, having been reassured by an acquaintance of her father's that he would aid her if she needed help crossing the river into Cresce. Elan's not found, but Sette does run into Matty and Ephsephin, still injured after the foiled kidnapping in Ulestry. A merry chase throughout the city ensues as citizens recognise her from Wanted posters and join in the pursuit. Matters are only complicated when the Peaceguard officer Captain Toma catches sight of her. Desperate, Sette pulls out a broken explosive pymaric she found abandoned earlier and hamfistedly rigs a trap. A mighty explosion shakes the city, providing her opportunity to escape.
Duane is rejoined at the edge of town but Sette has hardly a moment to catch her breath before Ephsephin appears, attacking the pair with an explosive of his own. Duane's blown off the cliffside, leaving Sette alone with the brutish slaver.