It’s the day after Kira learned of Annabella’s death. She is standing in her quarters with Thomas, looking out her window at the workers who are building a dyeing-place for her. The workers have moved many of the plants and pots in Annabella’s cottage to the Edifice. Kira tells Thomas that she’s afraid she won’t be able to remember how to weave without Annabella’s help, but Thomas assures her that she will.
Thomas gives Kira great support throughout Gathering Blue, but here, he’s only willing to help her so much. Just as before, he promises to help her learn the names of the plants, but he doesn’t want to help her learn how to read. The novel seems to suggest that his longer time of being under the control of the Council has made him less able to see through its unfair rules or access his artistic ability.
Kira thinks about her conversation with Jamison yesterday. Jamison told her that Annabella had died peacefully in her sleep; she may have died because she’d completed Kira’s education. Since she died without any sickness, Jamison says, there’s no need to burn her cott. Kira agrees, but tells Jamison that she’ll need to watch her spirit leave her body for the next four days. Jamison refuses to allow this, since the Gathering is approaching quickly. As Kira thinks about all of this, she wonders who found Annabella dead—how did they know to look in her cottage in the first place?
Jamison’s explanation for why Annabella died seems highly manipulative; he even suggests that Kira is in part to blame for Annabella’s death, since Annabella was only alive to teach Kira how to weave. This seems like a tactic to distract Kira the real issue—why Annabella died the day after Kira told Jamison what Annabella said about there being wild beasts. (In other words, it seems most likely that Jamison was responsible for Annabella’s death)
As Kira and Thomas stare down from the window, Kira tells Thomas that she needs to tell him something. Thomas takes a moment before he looks away from the sights of construction below—Kira thinks that this is typical of boys. Kira tells Thomas that she found the door to Jo’s room yesterday, and discovered that it was locked. This doesn’t surprise Thomas. When he was brought to the Edifice as a one-syllable tyke, he was locked in his room, too. When Kira suggests that he was being held captive, Thomas says that he thinks he was locked in his room for his own safety. Kira tells Thomas that Jo was crying for her mother. Again, Thomas doesn’t find this unusual—when he was brought to the Edifice, it took him a long time to accept that his parents were dead.
There’s a brief, amusing aside about how all boys love construction. But it quickly segues into a more serious discussion of raising children in captivity. Again, Thomas’s lack of compassion for Jo is a little disturbing—his argument boils down to, “I went through the same thing, so Jo shouldn’t mind it.” Thomas isn’t a bad person, but he’s a product of his environment: he was raised to have little to no compassion for other people, and thus he shows little to no compassion for Jo, at least not until Kira convinces him.
Thomas realizes that the three of them—Kira, Thomas, and Jo—are “artists.” Thomas has seen this word in books. As he understands it, it means someone who creates beauty. Kira points out that all three “artists” are orphans. She also tells Thomas about Marlena, who remembers that Jo’ had a mysterious “knowledge” of the future. She points out that she and Thomas have similar forms of “knowledge”: Kira’s cloth seems to speak to her, and Thomas’s carving speaks to him. Perhaps this is a special kind of magic knowledge, Kira suggests, that all artists have.
Thomas, not Kira, recognizes that he, Kira, and Jo are all “artists.” This is an interesting detail—it suggests that simply knowing the word “artist” makes it easier to identify artists. Kira hasn’t learned how to read, yet it’s she, not Thomas, who goes one step further and points out that all three of them have a special “knowledge.” This suggests that Kira is naturally cleverer than Thomas, even though Thomas is more educated.
Thomas doesn’t know what to make of Kira’s theory of artistic knowledge. He shrugs and tells her that it doesn’t matter, since both he and Kira have good lives: food, work, etc. Kira is unwilling to forget about Jo, and tells Thomas that she plans to help Jo. At first, Thomas tells Kira that the guardians won’t like it if she helps Jo, but then he offers to help her by providing her with a key he carved. The key can open any lock in the Edifice, he tells her. Thomas agrees to come with Kira and help Jo that night.
Thomas, for all his intelligence and training, simply isn’t as perceptive and curious as Kira. No only does he fail to understand Kira’s mentions of artistic knowledge; he has no desire to understand them, since he has a nice lifestyle in the Edifice. This shows how much power the Council wields over him—by giving him nice things, the Council has effectively turned him into an obedient servant. Nevertheless, his friendship with Kira is so strong that he agrees to help her free Jo.