The Need-Fire (alt. Force-Fire, meaning ‘forced fire’) tradition depended on a structure of exception. In a superstition widely chronicled across Old Europe it was popularly believed that the efficacy of the need-fire (to cure ills, to establish normality where sickness — of animals, relations, etc — had taken hold) depended on the extinguishment of all other fires in the vicinity. Harsh penalties existed for villagers found keeping their fires burning during the kindling of the need-fire; the sovereignty of the need-fire was paramount to its symbolic efficacy. This may in part account for the very etymology of the folk term — the ‘need’ indicating that same co-incidence of ontological necessity with a fully contingent, human-created condition as the co-incidence found in the ‘willed emergency’ or ‘fictional siege’ of a State of Exception.