Echoes from Amalcross: Benjamin Reeves on Our Next Chapter
Plus, Lucille Sparrow guides us across the Long Bridge…
Our Next Chapter
We published the first issue of Ballads of the Distant Reaches two months ago. When we started, this was very much an experiment. While we had spent almost a year prepping and falling in love with the Distant Reaches, we weren’t sure if it would all work! We didn’t know if our audience would come back week after week. And we didn’t know how deeply anyone would want to explore the world. Late at night, I found myself worrying that we would just be screaming into a void — regrettably a not-uncommon fate for mages and writers whose ambitions outpace their skills.
Fortunately, many of those questions have been answered now. Not only have our friends and families stuck with us (thanks, Mom!), but hundreds of new subscribers — complete strangers whom we’ve only met through happenstance and the wonders of the internet — have found this humble project and decided to join us for our journey. Thanks to the brilliance of our team of writers and the incredible art of Shay Plummer, Ballads of the Distant Reaches is real.
Now, we are about to embark on the next leg of our journey. There will be some changes and expansions, but we sincerely hope you’ll stay along for the ride!
New Stories, New Lore!
On September 20, we will publish a new fantasy short story set in the world of the Distant Reaches as usual.
We will also launch our premium subscriptions that day. Here’s what that means:
Conclave stories: We will continue to publish a new piece of fantasy short fiction every two weeks, exactly as we have since Issue I. Typically, these stories will be free for the public and anyone who subscribes.
Echoes from Amalcross: We will continue to publish behind-the-scenes content, such as this message you’re reading right now! These posts will include messages from the creators and Q&As with authors and artists, which will typically be available for free to all subscribers. They will also include snippets of Lore from our guides, which will typically be available exclusively to our premium subscribers.
Secrets of Amal: This will be a new section on DistantReaches.com, exclusively available to our premium subscribers! Within Secrets of Amal, discover hidden Lore, ancient texts, and snippets of rare accounts from around the Distant Reaches.
Amazing merch: We’re going to be showing off some awesome t-shirts, stickers, and more to the world in the coming weeks. Premium subscribers will have unique early access.
Serialized tales: Our readers have proclaimed they want extended narratives with recurring characters, and we’re going to give it to them. Over the coming months, premium subscribers will gain access to longer, multi-part stories. They’ll eventually serve as the basis for novellas, e-books, podcasts, and more.
Podcasts, novelizations and more! In the coming months we will be developing narrative podcasts, novelizations, and more. Premium subscribers will gain special early access to many of these tales.
Audience interaction. We love hearing from you, and, as part of our premium subscriptions, we’ll be offering more opportunities for fans to interact directly with us and with the writers and artists bringing this world to life.
Why We Need Your Help
Of course, we hope you choose to support us because you love the world we’re creating and the stories we’re telling. But we also want to be transparent about why we need your support.
We are completely independent and creator-owned, and we’re not backed by big Hollywood money. From the beginning, this has been a labor of love. Our premium subscribers will help us continue to pay our writers and artists and develop some of our other exciting storytelling opportunities, such as podcasts. A premium subscription not only grants access to the secrets of this universe, but is also a vote for independent, creative art and storytelling.
What You Can Do Right Now
We’re in the final stretch before our premium launch. Right now, we need you, our loyal readers, to do four things:
1. Subscribe for free with your email address (if you haven’t already). This will guarantee you’ll continue to receive all of our free fantasy short stories.
2. Follow us on social media. (And share!) We regularly post exclusive lore, sneak peaks, and behind-the-scenes content directly to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
3. Share, share, share! Share DistantReaches.com on social media, and share your favorite stories with your friends. Know someone you think would like DistantReaches.com? Email it to them! Call them! Proclaim your love for Ballads of the Distant Reaches from the rooftops. Scream about it to strangers on the street. Do what you have to do! Now is the time.
4. Let us know what you love about this project and what you’d like to see more of by commenting on this post. We want to hear from you!
We’ll be sharing more updates and specifics about how you can support us in the coming days. For now, enjoy a tour of the Long Bridge with Lucille Sparrow!
Readers’ Choice: A Sparrow’s Guide to Amalcross, with Ms. Lucille Sparrow
Welcome to Amalcross! I’m Lucille Sparrow, but you can call me Ms. Lucille — ohhh, I recognize some of you! Hello again! And for those of you who are new, welcome again!
Follow me this way, please. I can’t wait to show you one of my favorite spots in all of Amalcross. We’re walking west, toward the old city. Behind us is the Bazaar; when the tour is over today, I encourage you to buy a packet of diffwrych spice from one of the Salavaster vendors. It does wonders for a stew. My dear friend, Blue Siwaar, sells it too — tell them I said “hi,” but don’t expect a discount!
Ah, here we are! Before us lies the Long Bridge — such a boring old name for such a majestic and old bridge. It’s one of the many wonders of the Distant Reaches, and one of the greatest accomplishments of Amalcross. Let’s cross it!
And please, hold on to the railing. It’s a very windy day, and I’d hate to see any of you fall off it!
Notice how it reaches over the Strait with neither beams, anchors, pylons, nor abutments? That is because all those stones are held in place and suspended by a centuries old Bind — one of the most complex and historic spells ever devised. No one really knows the ultimate source of power the enchantment draws upon. It’s been active since 276 AE, and not even the Great Quake or the Sack of Amalcross could break it.
And that’s also why the Long Bridge sways so! The stones may weigh tons, but the wind over the Amal Strait has quite the blow. Once, the Long Bridge swayed nearly one hundred feet from its established span. Amalcrossers reported seeing the actual Binding between the stones as they separated to accommodate —
Whoops! Oh my dear, are you okay? Let it out, let it out. Sometimes this happens! Focus on the horizon, love — there we go. Now that you’re all empty, I know a great beer hall where we can wash that bad taste away. This way, please!!