Lute. Part Zero

Hey, I'm Tom Colohue. Welcome to installment zero of my new Ultimate-Guitar.com fiction series, Lute.

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Hey, I'm Tom Colohue. Welcome to installment zero of my new Ultimate-Guitar.com fiction series, Lute.

This is the first little preview uploaded to UG. It is entirely an introduction piece, and, since it is not part of the story, it is simply either the intro piece or installment zero. Its going to be fairly short, but one mainly for the sake of character and situation introductions. Lute isnt going to be anything like any of the previous pieces of UG fiction, so this is mostly so that potential readers can gauge their interest levels. That means you of course.

Please read, rate and comment. I look forward to hearing what you think. I have a general idea for where I want this to go, and, though it will undoubtedly be shorter than Disbelief, it looks as though its going to be much more intense and fast paced. Be ready for it.

Enjoy.


The flickering fire from atop the candles around the room made for comfortable lighting. Hundreds of little white tapers burned merrily along every wall and around every pillar, struggling to fight against the darkness that was still nestled in the corners of the hall. A single servant, known only as Wax, spent his every moment rushing back and forth, replacing candles and inspiring them to continue their unceasing struggle against the emptiness of the night.

In the shadows, the drunk and the lecherous lords whispered sweet as sugar lies into the ears of their friend's daughters while their wandering hands made the truth quite obvious to any who passed closely enough to see. Some particular few, the desperate and the elderly, had abandoned any lustful ambition towards the female nobility. Instead, they would drag a female member of the waiting servants into the darkened corners, hoping that nobody would notice, and take their satisfactions by force. Nameless, voiceless and nubile, it was the typical role of any young serving girl to oblige the lords and ladies, regardless of the obscure tastes that they were often required to provide. Few took up the task with relish.

Of the many land owners currently staying at the Lord Avatar's manor, only a small amount were unlucky enough to witness one of their fellow noblemen fornicating with the help. They would laugh at the desperation, the lack of daring and the screams and cries of the young woman forced into such a compromising position. The other servants, should they witness such an event, would look away. If they did not then each of the hundred or so servants of the manor would be made to suffer.

The Lord Avatar did not indulge himself tonight, especially in the pleasures of the flesh. The usual fine and exotic wines of his collection had been reserved for his guests rather than himself. The usual intoxicating herbs were burning on many tables around the hall, leaving clouds of mind-destroying smoke to smother both guest and servant alike, but he had thus far evaded it. He was sitting in his throne-like chair on a raised dais overlooking the rest of the hall. His mind clear, his eyes could see all that happened at the tables below. His face was stern, his voice as callous as his sword-bearing hand. His hair was long and grey, currently tied back in a warrior's queue. It spoke of his youth, in the days when the sword of Avatar had been both feared and respected. The very sword that had earned him his title now hung above the great log fireplace in the kitchens, where the servants cooked the meat on hooks.

Unfortunately, those days of heroism had long since passed. The trail of scars, a source of great pride for the Lord Avatar, were now little more than small lines breaking up the wrinkles on his face. His greatest source of pride was now the bushy grey moustache that claimed the vast majority of his upper lip.

His two children, both of whom were present tonight, were another source of great pride for the Lord Avatar. To his left, the allotted position for females of the family, sat the Lady Sincerity. Her sharp mind and sharper tongue were almost as legendary as her breathtaking beauty. She was a relative stranger to the court, known only, beyond the servants, to her father and her brother. Having just reached her twentieth summer, her father had finally permitted her to both enter the court and to accept suitors. However, most nobles were completely aware that they didn't stand a chance. It was well known that her father planned to sell her off to the highest bidder. Expanding the lands and peoples under his control was paramount to the Lord Avatar - so much so that it was worth his daughter's unhappiness. Sincerity was a quiet woman - shy and softly spoken. Tonight, her maids had dressed her in a demure, royal blue dress at her father's instruction. She sat upright, her golden hair cascading down her back, her hands placed, one on top of the other, upon her lap. Her eyes were downcast. She looked fragile and afraid.

On the Lord Avatar's right side, a place reserved for the men of the family, was sitting the young lord-in-waiting, Truth. He was much younger than his sister, having only been alive for fifteen summers, yet his gender made him the sole heir to all that his father owned. He was a pious boy, typically absorbed in his studies and his physical training. His eyes were somewhat bloodshot, with dark shadows around them. They were focussed down on the guests that were parading across the dance floor below. His expression matched that of his father, though his facial structure was very different. Truth's hair was still short, fair and black. He was known as being much more cerebral than his militant father, though that was not much of a challenge. It was Truth whom organised the parties, depleting his father's hard earned coin and thus earning the favour of the nobility. His keen eyes were well known for seeing business opportunities that others may not. Every party he threw was custom designed to earn the respect of somebody and embarrass the hospitality of everybody else. Tonight was no exception.

The prize that the Lord Avatar and his family were showcasing today had cost them an amount that would equate to a year's survival for the average family. Ultimately, they were just three servants, but their talents were such that there was a constant bidding war amongst the nobility for ownership of them. They were three musicians, all named after the instrument that they played, and all the same age as the Lady Sincerity. At current, there were on a specially erected stage, performing for anybody who would listen.

Percussion was provided by the only female of the group. Her instruments were a selection of bells and chimes, each one made to produce a distinct note and sound. She had long, free, blonde hair, a clear, emotional face and wore the long black dress that was typical of the female servants. She was shockingly undernourished, as was obvious just from the sight of her, but this was quite usual for servants. She was short, thin and flat-chested, though she was thankfully not one to care overly about her appearance.

One of the men performing with her, standing to her left and plucking the strings of a harp that he was holding in his left hand, was a musician that had been dubbed Harp. He was the tallest of the three performers, as well as the most well built. His hair was short, his moustache and beard kept as trimmed and tidy as his hair. His attire, like Bell's, was akin to that of the other serving folk of his gender. The simple black shirt and trousers strained against his muscled arms, thighs and chest. Despite this, he played his instrument gently and gracefully.

Completing the trio was the biggest prize of them all. Stood before his two companions was the youngest of the three. His chosen instrument was the Lute, though it was his voice that had made his purchase so expensive. Lute was a musician beyond others, and an artist at work. He led his two greatest friends with a teasing smile and a confident style. His typical servant attire had been decorated with a tiny red pin on his collar. The meaning behind this was simple; anybody who killed Lute would have to suffer the Lord Avatar's wrath for it. Lute actually mattered to the Lord and his family.

Of course, Lute took great pleasure in this knowledge. As far as he was concerned, his two friends were covered by his protective pin, as was anybody else that he felt the need to cover. Having been passed back and forth for consistently high amounts between almost endless lord and ladies vying for his talents, Lute had learned quite quickly that he was becoming almost invincible amongst the nobility. There was no risk anymore. The only way that any harm could come to him would be if he committed some sort of heinous act against the Lord Avatar himself.

The stage upon which they were performing was not free of the smoke from the burning herbs. Lute was inhaling it calmly, while Harp and Bell were trying to stay back and only taking increasingly brisk inhales. When singing was called for, Lute used his voice to serenade the entire hall. His voice carried as well as it could, though he felt sure that Avatar, Truth and Sincerity wouldn't be able to hear him. This was quite an annoyance. All three of them had to make a good impression on everybody, the lords of the manor included, or his own position might begin to waver. He had become very comfortable with the fact that he was far above the rest of the servants.

That was why he wished to continue impressing Avatar and Truth, but Sincerity was worthy of special attention. He had very special plans for her. She was nave, uninformed and innocent. He had captured the interests of women lesser in the nobility, but never one so close to the flame. After all, his talents were such that he was virtually unassailable. The servants adored him as a way to get things from the Lord Avatar. The Lord Avatar loved him purely for the music, but Truth adored the impact that all three of them had on the lesser nobility. Lute was a tool of influence, just as Sincerity would soon be a tool of bargaining.

This new court was raising more temptations than any that he had previously been in. His friends would watch him nervously as he moved on with whatever new target had entranced him to hold the boredom at bay. Like any truly brilliant person, Lute did not have to work at his singing or his playing. His talent worked on itself, leaving his mind to wander even during their performance. He couldn't stop himself from watching Sincerity, being very careful not to be too obvious about it. If Truth and the Lord Avatar had been indulging in their sensory inflammations, it would all be easy, but this provided a challenge.

This was what he wanted, and, servant or not, Lute always got what he wanted, regardless of the risks.

46 comments sorted by best / new / date

    gratefulduck
    idk about this, i dont really think its for me, but the writing was good. you've already proved yourself there
    CbsGuitarist
    I am a little curious about the life and times that was going on . r u going to resume writing it ?
    Colohue
    texzephyr wrote: good so far, different to anything i've read on her... but please don't leave us high and dry with this one too...
    This will be entirely UG fiction.
    masterp666
    TORCHERROR wrote: the paragraph about this beautiful daughter contradicts itself and sends mixed messages... describing her as sharp minded with a sharp tongue.. then she's just staring at the ground... i think theres another, though i dont want to look for it i like it though
    +1. i do like the idea of her having some sort of inner strength so lute won't know he bit off more than he can chew until he does so, but otherwise it just seems like she was somewhat shrewish and then you just 180'd her personality
    Dithindious
    A lot better written than disbelief on the whole, despite a few contradictions as pointed out by TORCHERROR. Your writing has came on substantially since the early chapters of Disbelief. Not particularly relevant to my intrests however although I wish you the best of luck with the chapters to come!
    Oxidation_Shed
    There's a bit too much effort to the description. I know this is only an introduction, however the endless wall of "telling" style description makes it uninteresting and kills any natural flow. You should try to use "showing" style description much more as it maintains reader interest. Also the highly complex nature of your descriptions can make for a riveting style, you seem to fall just short of carrying it off. Also you say that Sincerity has both legendary reputation of her brains, tongue and beauty; and equally that she is unknown to all except her direct family and a handful of servants. Also she is sharp tongued, yet she appears "fragile and afraid".
    GrayFoxz
    Icarus Lives wrote: I don't like you're writing, there's something about it I can't explain. Like when you mentioned that the 3 musicians were the same age as Sincerity, it seems forced, you could leave that fact til later, yaknow? Vocab is good, better than mine anyway, but overdone. And the descriptions are too much like "okay, here goes a description, ready?" it should flow better. You might say if I didn't like it I shouldn't bother commenting but you might like contructive criticism, or you might think I'm totally wrong and I'm just a wanker. Meh.
    This guys says it all in the simplest of english. too forced to have so much sentences trying to describe characters; and the names, i dont like the names, even though its a introductory piece it shouldnt be so forced, it should flow naturally .
    BlouPontak
    Mmm. Is this historical fiction, or fantasy? Could be either, from the chapter zero. I liked this. As someone to whom the UG fiction comes mostly as a dirty little pleasure, this is really exciting. Mayeb it is because there are no chances for long explanations of fretwanking on stage or the specific model of guitar (down to the ID number) being played. You have set up a scene where the chances for conflict are rife. You have created a beautiful chance for an arrogant protagonist, which is so very fertile in its possibilities. That said: This is going to be hell to back up. You'll have to slip in things that explain a lot of what you have said in this chapter (Like the nitty gritty of why he has so much influence, since, back in the day, musicians were simply tools to make music. Not really something to curry favour with by owning it. Except maybe as a potential gift.) CAn I hazard a few technical crit? 1) "so much so that it was worth his daughter's unhappiness" This seems like an anachronism to me. Back in the day, women (especially of noble birth) were married off to others to secure land or loyalty or the like. It was not a big deal. It was assumed that it will work that way. The very fact of that sentence's inclusion shows that this is a big deal, which it would only be in our modern times. I would recommend taking out that sentence altogether, since it is implicit in the previous sentence. 2) I find it hard to reconcile a sharp tongue with someone who is shy and softly spoken. The sharp mind statement also has implicit in it that se might have a sharp tongue, if driven to it, so I think that might also be redundant. 3) Icarus Lives' comment: Whatever. I thought it works pretty well. Your descriptions flow logically from the rest of the prose. It does not actually detract from the piece, since this is highly introductory. I would also love to see how they would have gotten past this and what they would conside a "natural flow". There are things that can be better, but what piece doesn't? I think this is a fresh approach, which could be really great, since it would be more about the intrigues and characters than about a small band making it big against the odds. Keep going. I'm watching this space with great expectations.
    texzephyr
    good so far, different to anything i've read on her... but please don't leave us high and dry with this one too...
    The_Raven
    Glad this will be entirely UG fiction Looks intruiging. But man, what is with your obsession with rape? You mention it in so many of your stories. Jane Moon, it was heavily implied with Ally in Disbelief and here it is again...why? It really shouldn't be tossed around lightly man, mature topics does not a mature story make. Take care with such topics because some people get very offended and are perfectly justified in doing so. I disapprove of your emphasis on rape because I don't believe it lends to your story the majority of the time. It worked with Jane Moon, but it just seems like you are trying too hard now and it makes all your fiction seem similar. Good luck with future installments.
    Colohue
    Setting the scene for the times. The serving girls mean absolutely nothing. It's also necessary in showing that Lute means something and providing an inherent risk for Bell. L&T will resume for the final three installments next week.
    The_DSO
    loved it!!! probably cos im a big fantasy fan... if this is meant to turn into fantasy, i suggest reading the wheel of time, especially concerning descriptions, it's what robert jordan (rip) did best
    The_Raven
    Hehe, agreed The_DSO, my favourite series in literature period! Righto, it works for Lute then. I'm just suspicious of how ALL your UG stories include the topic...remember that people don't respond well to it and it really should NOT be written lightly.
    Jastul
    Intriguing, this could go turn out well or very badly, I'll definitely check out the first few chapters before making my decision, but it looks promising.
    §ArmyofAngels§
    I like how the servant named Wax is spending time replacing the candles and such. Irony, I believe? I like it.
    metal_licka
    I don't really understand why everyone thinks that Colohue is trying to hard with the style of writing. It's obviously a descriptive piece, and aside from the very occasional rough edge it's extremely well written. Also, the style of writing suits the era that it's set in. In those days writing was considered an art, and a very fine art at that. You guys read too much twilight, it's a shame now when people can't recognise good writing for what it is. They compare it to the current bestsellers and decide it's too difficult to read and therefore no good. I'll definitely keep reading this. 5 stars.
    buni_rabit
    Im sure we could just ignore the name jsut give him a different name in your mind so every time you read it read his name as Ratava haha thats what i gonna do anyway.
    wonderwoman614
    Hey man I liked it!Maybe it's cause I'm a girl but I hope Truth and Bell will get involved or something
    justinb904
    This is quite different. I think I will have to read the first real chapter to make a decision on it but it looks like it could have plenty of potential.
    trog
    would it be more accurate to call the style baroque, or is that only for music? did I even spell it right.
    Cornpuff
    I'm not so sure with this one, Colohue, but I'm going to read at least the first few chapters.
    Gakbez
    This seems to have the same issue as Disbelief had for me. When you just look at, it's a solid wall of text, and i lost interest because of that. I read a huge part of disbelief, but then i lost one or two chapters and i went "*sigh*, forget it." i think what i am trying to say is, it's quite hard to digest, at least for me. You're still an awesome writer though
    MoonBoots432
    You're trying way too hard. "In the shadows, the drunk and the lecherous lords whispered sweet as sugar lies into the ears of their friend's daughters while their wandering hands made the truth quite obvious to any who passed closely enough to see." As far as I'm concerned, you're trying to write in a specific, pseudo-complex way, and you're not doing it very well.
    humperdunk
    "only a small amount were unlucky enough to witness one of their fellow noblemen fornicating with the help." should be "only a small number "
    cpick2014
    agreed with the others that couldnt get past the name avatar. seems like you could change that to another word with relatively the same meaning but because i dont know what youre going for i cant give any suggestions. like if some author was writing a novel in 1953 about a 'james band, american secret agent' then they would have had to change the name even if they wrote their book before ian fleming wrote his. its just how the world works. you have to flow with it a little
    TORCHERROR
    BUY MY BOOK
    ah. just kidding the paragraph about this beautiful daughter contradicts itself and sends mixed messages... describing her as sharp minded with a sharp tongue.. then she's just staring at the ground... i think theres another, though i dont want to look for it i like it though. Will read, Wont Buy.
    buni_rabit
    The name avatar ruins it a bit. Every time his name comes up i imagine a big blue thing.
    c-rob6422
    yeah if you changed avatar's name in the first real chapter that would be awesome. i liked it. its intriguing. please continue, will give it a 5 *
    Colohue
    I'm not going to change his name. It's pure coincidence, seeing as I wrote the majority of this before there was any film on the cards. He's named that for a reason.
    Icarus Lives
    I don't like you're writing, there's something about it I can't explain. Like when you mentioned that the 3 musicians were the same age as Sincerity, it seems forced, you could leave that fact til later, yaknow? Vocab is good, better than mine anyway, but overdone. And the descriptions are too much like "okay, here goes a description, ready?" it should flow better. You might say if I didn't like it I shouldn't bother commenting but you might like contructive criticism, or you might think I'm totally wrong and I'm just a wanker. Meh.
    bloodlust_panda
    I liked sompeople are to picky with the details on some grammar though hah but keep going its good
    Colohue
    This is an intro piece. It saves time spent later describing people when I want to be busy describing events.
    silverrock224
    i like it. its a very nice change of pace. Ive always liked the era with lutes and mandolins and the such.. good job!
    TromboneThunder
    Feudal fantasy band fiction? Why didn't I think of that? I'll definitely be reading this. Your characterization of Sincerity is a little bit confusing. First she has a "sharp mind and sharper tongue", then she's "shy and softly spoken", then "fragile and afraid", and finally "nave, uninformed and innocent". It seems like you weren't quite sure what you wanted her to be when you started writing. Because of the mixed signals, all we're sure about by the end is that she's hot. Probably just a matter of things you forgot to change though. Good work!