It’s natural for parents to want the best for their spawn. There you are, holding your slimy little successor and imagining what he/she will do in life: a sporting god, a life-saving medic, a nerdy genius of a mathematician. The list might almost be endless; well unless you live in Madrigal, a binary fairyland. There you fall into one of two categories: Royal or Common. Which will mean: cake or bread; money or grinding poverty; permanent leisure or unremitting toil. Unlike some systems this categorization doesn’t happen at birth but on your 18th birthday. The night before, you are sent to bed with eye patches on. In the morning, you take them off and check the mirror: sparkling blue and it’s a sparkling future; rheumy red and it’s relentless rubbish. Some try and check early but before the clock strikes 12 you’ll still have the adolescent rainbow. It makes no difference. The Iris Lord decides and pretty much that’s it.
Like every system there are those who rail against it. Who perceive unfairness in the arbitrary way this lottery works. Usually they come from the red-eyed rabble but some enlightened Blues have been known to stop eating cake and nod in the direction of a few more royals. But no more. There are tensions in fairyland.
Madrigal likes to move with the times. Not necessarily keeping up but moving a few paces behind other societies. The advent of video games as a new leisure activity was welcomed by an increasingly bored coterie of Blue Bloods but at some cost to the regal eyesight. A selection of opticians was dispatched to find some way of improving the sight of the Beautiful Few. Their solution was contacts. Perfect, they thought, save that some of the vainest of the Court complained the new enhancements shaved a couple of microns off the iridescence of the royal eyes.
More research and the answer came back; blue lenses. Oh dear; the law of unintended consequences. Now the Common have stopped working; instead of tilling the earth and reaping the corn they spend their days hunting for any lost lens and an entrée into the life of luxury they desire. From cake shortages to catastrophe in four weeks.
This is in response to Jane Doughtery’s latest #microfiction prompt picture, above