For the second book of the trilogy, see Lamplighter (book).
Lamplighter cover portion
Rossamünd Bookchild as a lamplighter.
Alternate names Lighter
Type Pediteer
Employed by Haacobin Empire
Some city-states
Notable examples Rossamünd Bookchild
Aubergene Wellesley
Appearances Foundling
Mentioned Factotum

A lamplighter is a pediteer whose role is to light and douse the great-lamps that illuminate the conductors and Imperial conduits, although they are also employed by some city-states. The lamplighters who are featured in the story are responsible for the Conduit Vermis and based at Winstermill. Rossamünd Bookchild prenticed to become a lighter and briefly served as one before he was withdrawn from Imperial service by Europe. Threnody briefly served as the first and only female lighter. The lamplighters suffered a major defeat when Winstermill fell to a large and varied monster army, leaving the Conduit Vermis cut off from the rest of the Soutlands.


The qualifications for becoming a lamplighter are somewhat amorphous, but all lamplighters until Threnody joined had previously been male. Recruits need not even be Imperial citizens, as there are instances of lamplighters from foreign lands who have joined. Teenage boys or slightly younger may be accepted as prentices, either through volunteering, as Arimis Arabis did, or they may be recruited, like Rossamünd Bookchild was. Boys who are younger may serve at the manse as Lighter's Boys before they are old enough to begin prenticing. In all three cases, these boys become rank and file lamplighters at the end of their prenticeship. Adult lamplighters are not mentioned to have been trained at Winstermill at the same time that the prentices were.

How officers are recruited or if they can be promoted from the enlisted ranks has not been explained. House-Major Grystle, who was previously a ram captain before he was dismissed from service, presumably was able to enter the service as an officer.


Main article: Prentice-lighter

Would-be lamplighters undergo a training period at the headquarters of the conduit where they will eventually serve. Following the completion of their apprencticeship they become fully fledged lamplighters and are assigned to their first billets.


The lamplighters' primary role is to light and douse the great-lamps along conductors and their lives revolve around this duty. Their signature tool in working with the lamps is the fodicar, which is used to activate the mechanism that draws out the bloom into the seltzer water. Lamplighters are billeted at cothouses and any major fortresses along their assigned conductors. They are organised into watches, either the day-watch or the lantern-watch, which respectively are responsible for dousing the lamps in the morning and later lighting them in the late afternoon. As trained soldiers lamplighters are the primary military force on the conductors, responsible for keeping them open and clear of monsters and suppressing the dark trades. They are augmented by other pediteers and auxiliaries that may be stationed along the conductor.

Veteran or experienced lamplighters are usually assigned to the toughest and most dangerous billets. In the case of the Conduit Vermis, these were the ones farther east towards the Ichormeer. Senior lamplighters are involved in training prentice-lighters towards the end of their careers if they can still serve actively.



A fully equipped lamplighter from Appendix 7 of Lamplighter.

When they join, lamplighters are issued the following equipment as prentices:

  • 1 quabard, Imperial mottle
  • 1 sash, twin-pattern, rouge blank and rouge and cadmia checks
  • 1 fodicar, Scutid pattern
  • 1 thrice-high, felt, black, with gaulded band
  • 3 shirts, linen, white
  • 3 longshanks, proofed, black
  • 3 pair undergarments, white
  • 3 pair trews or stockings
  • 1 trencher, wooden
  • 1 cup, tin
  • 1 set turnery or cutlery
  • 2 blankets, woolen
  • 1 pillow, hay-stuffed
  • 1 clasp-knife (for paring toe- and fingernails, cleaning fouled equipment)
  • lug-pipe, pewter (used in the cleaning of firelocks)
  • 1 ox trunk

Equivalent items brought by the lighter are used instead of the issued articles and they can also expand their equipment as desired. For examples, the lamplighters stationed at Wormstool had a variety of personal weapons.[1] Every second lighter is issued a small book called a record to note down any lamps in need of repair for the seltzermen to attend to. Some lighters are also issued repellants or blastes and taught how to use them.


  1. Lamplighter, Chapter 25