For breakfast the day after she arrives at the Chief Edifice, Kira eats a delicious meal, including eggs, cereal, bread, and cream. With her mother, Kira ate cold food, and usually had to find it herself. Kira tries to bathe in her bathtub, but finds this unnatural. She prefers bathing in a stream. She decides to bathe outdoors in the stream every morning. She also notes that there’s nowhere to bury waste in her quarters.
Kira clearly isn’t comfortable with her new life—there’s even some light comedy in this section, when Kira isn’t sure how to use a bathtub or a toilet (she doesn’t understand that with a toiler she doesn’t have to bury “waste”!).
Kira dresses and combs her hair, and leaves her quarters to go for a walk. As she walks through the hall, a door opens, and a boy she recognizes walks out He addresses her as Kira the Threader, and Kira realizes that he is Thomas the Carver. He shows her around his quarters; they’re identical to her own, except that the window faces the central square of the village. Like Kira, he has a workroom and drawers of storage for his supplies. Kira mentions that she doesn’t like her bathtub. Thomas explains that he has lived with the Council since he was a tyke. A guardian noticed his woodworking abilities. Shortly thereafter, he continues, his parents died in a storm, both struck by lighting. When this happened, the guardians took Thomas to live with them. Thomas is grateful to them, since he would have been given away to another family.
It’s a significant detail that Thomas’s quarters face the square, while Kira’s face the moon. This symbolizes Thomas’s greater comfort with his new home and with the moral values of the village (this will become clearer as we go on in the story). We learn here that Thomas is an orphan, like Kira—this seems unlikely, to the point of being suspicious to the reader (two people being struck by lightning?), but neither Thomas nor Kira seem to recognize that suspiciousness. It’s worth noting that Thomas’s art is more stereotypically masculine—woodcarving has traditionally been a man’s job—while Kira’s is more stereotypically feminine.
Thomas explains to Kira that there are no rules among the council: the two of them can come and go as they please, as long as they do the work they’ve been brought there to do. The guardians will check Kira’s progress every day. Thomas and Kira make plans to eat lunch together. Thomas also talks to a tender, a servant who works in the Council Edifice. The tender takes Kira back to her room and shows her how to use her bathroom properly.
Thomas is clearly more comfortable with his quarters than Kira is—in all probability, he had to go through the same process of learning how his bathtub and toilet worked (and he probably didn’t have anyone to teach him).
Jamison enters Kira’s quarters after Kira and Thomas eat lunch together. He asks Kira if she’s slept well and eaten all her lunch. Kira answers him, but even as she does so Jamison examines the robe and begins to explain her duties to her. Kira’s mother had begun repairing the robe, but the unadorned patch on the robe is meant to portray the future of the village’s society. Jamison stresses that the robe tells the story of the world, and that the world depends upon the completion of the robe.
Here, we get our first look at the robe that will be so crucial to the second half of the book. Even though she’s only been in the Edifice for a few hours, Jamison is already making it clear that Kira’s job is extremely important—indeed, the future depends on it. It’s not clear what he means—the world’s future can’t “depend” on the robe in any literal way, after all. It’ll take some time before we understand Jamison.
Jamison shows Kira the supplies she’ll use to complete the robe: needles, threads, scissors, etc. Kira notices that the threads haven’t been dyed; when Jamison reminds her that she said she’d been learning how to do this, Kira says that she learns quickly. Jamison says that he’ll send Kira to Annabella, who lives in the woods. He also notes that Kira has plenty of time before she must complete the robe: the Ruin Song is performed several months from now, at the beginning of autumn. Kira is grateful for Jamison’s help and encouragement, but she notices an urgent tone in his voice that she hasn’t heard before. Overwhelmed with all that she must do before autumn, she resolves to go to Annabella tomorrow.
Kira notices the urgent tone in Jamison’s voice—this shows a few things. First, as always, it shows that Kira is an intelligent and observant child, and thus well up to the monumental task Jamison has given her. Second, and more importantly, it suggests that Jamison is only taking care of Kira because she can weave. In other words, he doesn’t have any fatherly feelings, or any affection at all for her—he would have been willing to let her die in the Field if she weren’t an “exception,” if she didn’t have some purpose or job that was of interest to him.