A tale of three cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Long, long ago, in a land, far, far away there lived three identical tales. Their young lives were happy and fulfilled, but they knew that something was missing. They thought (and they thought) what this might be, until they realized that they had to be free. (Each of them wanted to meet a prince(ss) as well, but they were quite emancipated little tales and decided: freedom first.)

Now, the triplets had heard of three distant cities. The first, ruled by a noble called Barnes, was the famed city of Nook. The second (ruled by, well no one quite knew who) was the not quite so famous city of Kobo. But the greatest city of all took its name from the vast river that ran through its lands. It was called Amazon.

One day the tales were sitting quietly with their proud parent, thinking on their typos and formatting errors, when the bravest of the three spoke up. “I wish to be free,” she said. “I will try my luck in the city of Nook.” There was much crying and not a little hugging, and then the brave little tale set out. It was a long and hard road to Nook, there were many twists and turns along the road, but she found the way.

Freedom, alas, she did not find. “You cannot be free here,” she was told by those who knew (they called themselves the bloggers), “not unless you have the blessing of the great wizard Smashwords.”

Fortunately, the great wizard was easy to find, and proved very friendly – though a little hard to understand at times – and soon it was that the wizard gave his premier blessing. Not too long after, the tale gained the freedom of Nook and, of course, she lived happily ever after.

Now there were only two tales left at home, and the second said, “I too need to be free!” Her parent blessed her, and the little tale – learning all from her sister’s blog –  went straight to the wizard with her own wish, “Oh great wizard Smashwords, make me free too, but in the city of Kobo.”

The wizard gave his blessing and, in almost no time at all, the little tale found freedom on Kobo (and happily ever after, she did live.)

Now the third tale, the most timid, had avidly been reading the blogs of her sisters. One day, with tears in her eyes, she came to her parent and announced, “Though I know how much you love me, I can not stay, I too must be free!” And so she set out. She visited with her sisters at Nook and Kobo, seeing all the sites that there were to see, but she could feel the pull of Amazon, for she knew that nothing she saw with her sisters could compare to that mighty city.

When the time came for her appointment with the wizard Smashwords, she was ready with her request, just like her sisters before her. “Bless me oh great wizard, that I might be free in the City of Amazon.”

“Um. Hm,” said the wizard.

“But… why my sisters and not me? We are family!”

“I would grant this boon,” the wizard said, “if I could, but it is not within my power. I cannot help you find the way to Amazon, you must journey there alone. And when you arrive, you will not be free, this truth I know. And please call me Mark if it will help.”

But the little tale would not be put off, for freedom in Amazon was a greater prize than in any other city, and she had found a new bravery from her sister’s travels. And in time, though the journey was hard, she found her way to Amazon. It was as magnificent a city as all had told her, more so perhaps, but its truth was exactly as the wizard had said: there she could not be free.

Time passed, a time of servitude, until one day she heard the parents of other tales talking. They whispered that freedom might be found in Amazon after all. The secret was this: if her friends petitioned the almighty ruler of Amazon, the famous Algorithm, enough times, telling the Algorithm of freedoms to be found in other cities, the Algorithm might grant the little tale her freedom. So she asked all her friends if they would, and they all happily agreed.

But alas it was not enough! No matter how they tried, the Algorithm refused her. Even when her friends told the Algorithm of the freedom to be found in the (possibly apocryphal) land of iBooks, it availed her nothing. Perhaps the Algorithm was a little deaf (or slow, or had recently changed), none could say, for the capricious workings of the almighty Algorithm are beyond the minds of (wo)men and even of great wizards.

And so this story reaches its end.
And it seems that the little tale will not live happily ever after (and that finding her prince(ss) is out of the question).

***

Thank you for reading :-).  If you would like to change the ending of this story (it’s real-time interactive fiction!), here’s how you can:

The bloggers say that the mighty Algorithm of Amazon won’t make a story free, unless enough people tell it that the story is free elsewhere. Could you take a minute to go to the tale’s page on Amazon and to tell the Algorithm that you have seen the tale’s sister free in another city. The links are below. It would make the tale (and her doting parent) happy, maybe even ever-after :-).

On each of the thee pages linked to below (US, UK, Canada), there will be a link towards the bottom of the page which says “tell us about a lower price?” That page then requires the URL of the page on which the tale can be found.

For Amazon US please copy/paste this URL: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/clay-for-ellen-harper-peace/1116947039?ean=2940045275057 and/or this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/clay-for-ellen/id710150605?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">Clay for Ellen – Harper Peace</a&gt

For  Amazon UK please copy/paste  this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/clay-for-ellen/id710150605?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">Clay for Ellen – Harper Peace</a>

For Amazon Canada please copy/paste this URL: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/clay-for-ellen/id710150605?mt=11&uo=4" target="itunes_store">Clay for Ellen – Harper Peace</a>

And thank you!

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