It is the day of the Gathering. Kira wakes up at down to hear the villagers gather at the plaza where the Gathering takes place every year. Everyone in the plaza is quiet and solemn, even tykes. Kira notices that Katrina's brother is standing with his son, Dan, but not his daughter, Mar. Kira wonders if Mar has been given to another family.
The villagers’ solemn behavior shows how important the Gathering is in their culture—ordinarily, they would be shouting and laughing, as they did on the day of the hunt. Kira proves that she’s still curious and sympathetic to others, even those who, like her mother’s brother, aren’t sympathetic to her at all.
Kira goes to Thomas’s room and asks him where the staff is. He tells her that the guardians took it yesterday, and she confirms that they took the robe, too. Thomas looks out at the crowd and notices Matt’s mother. Kira is sad when she notices that Matt isn’t standing beside her. The doors of the Edifice open, and the villagers enter. A guard comes to Thomas’s room and tells them that it is time.
Thomas shows signs of being more invested in Matt’s fate than he was previously: he’s the one who notices Matt’s mother, not Kira. Still, it’s Kira who feels the most sadness when she notices that Matt isn’t in the crowd.
Kira sits in the Council of Guardians hall, thinking about how it looked to her the last time she was there. Then, she was nervous and afraid. Now she’s strong, healthy, and brave. She sees the Council of Guardians sitting in a row of chairs, and recognizes Jamison among them. She also notices three empty chairs on the other side of the hall; she and Thomas bow before the cross, and then sit in two of these chairs. As she sits down, a woman calls out that Kira doesn’t need the village anymore. Kira thinks to herself that she does need the village, and that they all need each other.
The ceremonies at the Gathering are impressive, but they seem to have little to no substance. Thus, everyone bows before the cross without understanding what the cross symbolizes. This is an important moment, because it shows that the villagers respect the Council without understanding exactly why they owe the Council any respect at all. It’s almost an important moment for Kira, since she realizes that she is invested in the village’s happiness.
The chief guardian, whose name Kira can’t remember (it might be Bartholomew, she thinks) calls for the Gathering to begin. He calls for the cross, the Object, to be worshipped, and the villagers bow before it. He then presents the Council of Guardians, and the crowd nods in respect. He presents Thomas the “Carver of the future,” and then Kira, the “designer of the future.” Finally, he presents the “Singer of the future,” who will wear the robe one day. When the chief guardian announces this, a side door opens, and guards push Jo forward toward her chair. Kira whispers that Jo should stand and look proud for a moment; Jo does so, and then climbs into her chair.
The fact that Kira still can’t remember the chief guardian’s name shows that she hasn’t yet bought in to the pomp and pageantry of the Council—she’s still a little skeptical. Kira acts like a good mother for Jo, whispering her directions and telling her when she should sit down. Kira’s in an uneasy position—the Council has ensured that the village gives her great respect, but Kira herself doesn’t respect the Council much at all.
The chief guardian then presents the Singer, who enters, holdings his staff and wearing his robe, which is bright and colorful because of Kira’s work. Thomas mutters to Kira that he hears a noise: the clank of dragging metal. Neither of them can identify where the noise comes from.
It’s not clear what the metallic noise means (it might remind us of the sound of Kira’s lame leg dragging against the floor).
The Singer stands in the center of the hall, and the scraping sound stops. He holds out one arm, on which the robe shows the scene of the origin of the world. Kira feels great pride in her weaving. The Singer begins to sing, without much of a melody. He will build up to melody later on.
Kira may have some misgivings about the Council and about the robe, but this doesn’t mean she isn’t enormously proud of all the work she’s done.