Echoes from Amalcross: Message from the Creator & a Bawdry Song
July 19, 2022
My name is Benjamin Reeves, and I am the creator and co-editor of Ballads of the Distant Reaches. We launched Ballads last week, and if you haven’t already, check out our first two stories — “The Conclave Restored” and “Song of the Stonelayer” — on distantreaches.com! While our stories publish every other week, on these off-weeks, Echoes from Amalcross will give you a peek behind the scenes with news, interviews, and special insights into the world.
If you’re enjoying the Distant Reaches so far, check out our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages. We share fun tidbits of lore and other info there; sometimes, these nuggets will relate directly to the recent stories. Other times, they’ll point to landmarks further down our narrative journey.
We are still in the early days of this project. We're growing this organically with limited resources — and a commitment to paying our writers and artists from day one. (Yes, this means one day we’ll introduce paid subscriptions — but we hope you’ll stick with us to support our independent writers and artists!)
We’re also developing additional platforms such as podcasts. But we’re not rushing anything! We're only at the beginning of the journey, and there's still lots of world to explore…
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out with collaborations, suggestions, feedback, or just to say "hi." You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or my co-founder/co-editor Robert at email@example.com.
A Sparrow’s Guide to Amalcross, with Ms. Lucille Sparrow
Welcome to Amalcross! I’m Lucille Sparrow, but you can call me Ms. Lucille — I’m so happy you’re here with me!
Who’s visiting for the first time? No need to shout; please raise your hands — oh, I should’ve guessed! I’m so excited you get to experience the city for the first time with me! My family moved to Amalcross from beyond the Sand Wastes, but I was born and raised here and just can’t think of a more wonderful and interesting place to be!
Follow me this way, please, and stay close! It’s easy to get lost in Amalcross, and we wouldn’t want anyone falling into the sewers, now, would we?
Today is the first day of the fifty-seventh Conclave of Bards, the first public conclave since Rorei was deposed. Although the Grand Hall is dreadfully crowded now, you should surely attend the conclave later in the week — the songs and tales won’t stop for a minute until every bard has spoken, I assure you!
Did you know, Amalcross’s tradition of ballads and tales comes from its weather? Oh yes, it’s so sunny and lovely today, but mostly our weather is cloudy. Not as rainy as I’m sure you’ve heard, but it does rain a lot! And so Amalcrossers young and old spend a lot of time indoors, sipping on lovely teas and fruitful juices and strong ales and wines and ciders. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Ale & Marrow? As a tavern it’s quite mediocre, but it’s true many famous cutthroats and dastards drink their fill there. Trust me, lovelies, don’t go in unless you’ve sharpened your blades — but this crowd looks far too sweet to step foot in there to me!
Oh, do you hear that? Come closer, come closer; Amalcrossers love to sing when they drink, and I recognize this song: It’s a retelling of the Song of the Stonelayer! I’m sure you’ve heard the official versions. The Stonelayer’s Song is always sung to open the Conclave, but there are so many variants of it you could hear a new version every day for your whole entire life! Let’s listen to this one:
Old King Cog was a grumpy man His face as cold as stone And old King Cog was a scary man His mood as strict as stone But old King Cog was a fruitful man Who loved to sow the seed of man Laying both husbands and wives And plenty of lines His rock as hard as —
Oh my!! Oh wow oh wow, that took the most unexpected of turns! Though I can’t say I’m too surprised; such a retelling is far more common than you’d believe… I’m so sorry for the wee ones amongst us, but I suppose they’ll have to learn sometime! Ah, to have the cotton ears of babes.
Well, now that we’re all blushing, let’s hurry on! Follow me, please! Let us continue the tour!