Information sourced from 'On Dysfunctional Eyesight', 'The Great Renaissance' and 'Making Your Spectacles a Spectacle'
Inhabitants of the Mortal Realm have always suffered various issues with and connected to their eyesight. While blindness can be reversed or averted until it is inevitable, restorative magics always proved to revert an individual back to their original long- or short-sightedness. Early in a period of time known as the Renaissance during the mid-Third Era an eyeglass was invented to reduce the strain on an individual's eyes. As the Empire of Midland flourished, the popularity and availability of eyeglasses rose significantly, with many magical modifications updating the design of eyeglasses for various reasons.
The wonders of eyeglasses have been expanded from the previous assistance for short- and long-sightedness, and many different lenses being available to you now depending on what issues concern your eyes you suffer from! Do you suffer from ridicule from your peers over your mistakes of colour? Do you struggle to identify or even recognise the colours they talk of? Well fear not, the top researchers of our day have recently identified this as "colour blindness" and our latest "correction lens" will magically display directly to your eyes exactly what you have been missing! Do you struggle to read in this modern age? Despite having received sufficient education do you witness letters dance a merry jig across the page? Well suffer this no longer as the "autocorrective lenses" through the advances in implementing more spells in the ruby lenses. These two correction lenses are hot off the press after the recent "stabilising lenses". Two stabilising lenses are available for the common imperial citizen, the advanced which combats one issue known as "dyspraxia", where magic informs you the best way to perform a task without the need for you to actively think about it, reducing clumsiness and establishing co-ordination and balance. Worried how it'll work? Magic. Often some of our richer clientele who have invested in magical stabilisers for their carriages for comfort, they feel nauseating where their eyes see little motion but the stomach feels it. Our less advances stabilising lenses for "motion sickness" will set you at ease. Reviews have also come in that this lens also suits for those struggling to gain their sea-legs!
The manufacturing of eyeglasses was originally through the same process as the automated production of convex lenses for telescopes. This was adapted to suit the requirements of the eyeglass, though the original flour mill-esque design of interlocking cogs and a central heavy wheel was kept. The wheel would turn and lenses were ground down to extremely fine precision, so that they could be fitted to early scissor frames.
In time, it was discovered the conductivity of rubies to be extremely efficient magical conduits. Thus started the great ruby trade and the Ruby Road was built to have the this trade easily link from the ruby rich Leonid Pride Lands to the Midlandian Empire. Experiments were made to replace glass lenses with thinner ruby ones which could be magically charged for more efficiency and also broaden the potential for what the eyeglass could assist with.
During the times of the Midlandian Empire, Spectacle Specialist Shops could be found in almost every major imperial city and trade town and were available at a reasonably cheap price due to the actual establishment being granted ruby supplies for free by the Arcane Council who arranged and financed the ruby trade. Where more advanced spells were channelled into the lenses, prices did start to rise due to the manufacturing process to turn the ruby into the eyeglass coming out of the pocket of the shop itself.
During the Warlord Period, many eyeglass manufacturing sites were caught in the chaos and lost forever. The Arcane Council disconnected themselves from the Realm itself as the Arcane Universities became isolated fortresses. Both hoarded magical materials, items and artefacts including ruby supplies and as many eyeglass makers as could be thieved or bought before the fighting swallowed them forever.
Throughout the Fourth Era, the Arcane Council have not supplied any civilian shops with the manufacturing equipment or ruby supplies. Instead, a new Spectacle Specialist Shop is available in every University which has severely limited the availability for a common subject of the Holy See Territories to gain access to an eyeglass they may require. Some non-affiliated civilian Eyeglass Parlours have popped up in major cities, though without a cheap access into the highly regulated ruby trade, these eyeglasses have almost all gone back to the original glass option.
Prompts Advent Calendar #21 WorldEmber Article #23
The Renaissance Period
When the Empire of Midland was reaching it's height in peace, prosperity and influence during the early mid-Third Era, there was a societal and technological event which snowballed throughout the Empire known as the Renaissance.
Also known as the Renaissance of the Dragon Age, it was a point in time where the Dragons were stopping their Great Hunt and started to instead put their vast magical knowledge to good use and their firstborn the Abishai would teach even the common peasant basic magical knowledge of a class of spell known as "cantrips".
The Dragons and their Abishai would establish the Arcane Council to regulate this mass express of knowledge on the populace, which assisted society in many ways and eased the way for the revolutionary Renaissance Period to come about.
With menial tasks becoming less time consuming and more efficient with the common cantrips, women were not spending all their time tending to the household while the men were levied off the military and now had more access to pursue higher education.
Soon, women had access to them more specialised tasks often in the past reserved only for men furthering a cultural appreciation of greater gender equality, while others would develop the artisan field revolutionising and pushing forward new groundbreaking ideas in painting and architecture. A community of like-minded women who pursued just this in praise of the Forge God Fourga established the first College of Artificers.
This also considerably helped the expansion of the Empire's borders, as agricultural labourers could spend more time away from their fields and the levy system was scrapped in favour of more military training and a standing force of Imperial Legions were established that could press the imperial claims when no other nation reliant on the levy system could.
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Okay, so I really only used this article to really introduce a sense of what the Arcane Council is and the Renaissance of my world. One day I just sat down with a list of D&D 5e cantrips and was like "the dragons are supposed to be the big players now, and they like to spread magic, and anyone can know a cantrip or two, so what would happen to society after that?" and just ran with it for about a week of lockdown. A renaissance, gender equality and a standing army ahead of its time was the first things I thought would make sense so of course it's the first things I'll mention on here! Hopefully I get more chances to expand on that time period in the future :D
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I love the title of the of the spectacle article! This is a wonderful, concise history of eyeglasses throughout the different periods. A very enjoyable read!
Thank you :-)
Interesting stuff. I quite enjoyed the way you appropriated real world terminology like Renaissance and then took it in a completely unexpected direction. And the advanced glasses are a really cool idea, not something I've seen before.
Glad you enjoyed :D
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
Really interesting how eyeglasses are now not as available as they once were, especially not with the ruby lenses. I did have a mild heartattack thinking how expensive my glasses would be if they had ruby lenses now, hahaha. Fascinating article, well done. :D
Ach in this world I've tried to reverse the nonsensical prices of glasses, they're a requirement not a luxury! Glad you enjoyed it :-)
What a fab article! I LOVED the idea of magically infused spectacles, and the details of how politics affected materials distrubution, filtering down to the experience of the regular Joe on the street, was awesome. A really engaging article! <3
Woah! :O Thank you so much for the kind words, Janet! That means so much to me that you found the time to read the article and comment!