fire carrier Profession in The River | World Anvil
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fire carrier

The migration of humans throughout the connected continents would never have been possible without the ability to bring fire along on the journey.  Before firemaking tools were commonplace, each band had certain members tasked with carrying, protecting, and feeding the seed embers while they traveled between camps.


Social Status

Because of people's dependence on fire, being trusted to carry it was a mark of high status.  In many groups the leaders and the fire carriers were the same people.


When populations began to depend on using controlled fire, keeping the flame alive became a specialized role within a group. The earliest fire keepers stayed with the fire, but this anchored groups to a single location. Groups that traveled seasonally needed to take their fire with them.  Fire keepers could move the fire short distances with just a burning stick, but needed to protect the flame and its fuel to take it farther.  With the development of the first walled fire pots, fire keepers became fire carriers.   The development of frictional firestarting made loss of fire less of a catastrophe, but still required perfect conditions and a practiced technique to work reliably. It was used most often by fire carriers themselves to revive embers that had gone out. As the methods were improved, the skill of fire starting became easier to learn. The innovation of the pump drill made it possible for anyone with two hands and tinder to get a fire lit within a few tries. With every woman able to create her own fire when needed, fire carrying went almost overnight from being a highly valued occupation to being entirely unnecessary.



Embers were carried in fire pots, either suspended from cords or held by insulated wrappings.  A scoop carved from bone was used to transfer embers into and out of the pot.  Fire carriers also kept a pouch filled with dry fuel to add to fire pot when necessary.


An early type of fire pot was made from a hollowed gourd lined with moist earth and allowed to dry, with a woven grass lid.  The embers, placed inside, were protected from wind and rain while the gourd itself was protected by the layer of earth.  Later, fire carriers more often used pots of hardened clay.

Dangers & Hazards

Burns are always a hazard for anyone who handles fire.  However, a highly skilled, well-taught, very careful fire carrier could go her whole life without acquiring disfiguring scars.
Famous in the Field

View from the future

In the modern Ocean, a form of fire carrying is once again a specialized occupation.  Fire has been largely replaced by other energy sources in all but a few applications, resulting in a limited class of technicians with the knowledge to ignite, tend, and extinguish flames.

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Author's Notes

Disclaimer: everything in the history section is pure speculation.  ...And, well, most of everything else too.

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