As the council proceeds with its deliberation, Kira notices a large box that wasn’t there before lunch. The chief guardian tells the guard to open the box, revealing the Singer’s robe. Everyone, including Kira and Vandara, leans forward to get a closer look at the robe. Kira is more familiar with the robe, because her mother made repairs on it. Jamison asks Kira about her abilities as a weaver, and notes that Kira’s skills are said to be even greater than those of her mother. When Jamison asks if Kira has learned the arts of coloring and stitching, Kira answers that she has, but thinks to herself that this isn’t true; she hasn’t had enough time to learn all of them, due to her mother’s death. Jamison notes that Katrina’s old teacher, Annabel, now so old that she’s called Annabella, can be used to teach Kira.
When we see the robe, it becomes clear that the information about Kira’s weaving abilities in the previous was highly relevant to what would come ahead in the novel. Based on bits of information we’ve learned so far—Jamison knew about Kira’s work habits, a council guardian watched Kira sew when she was a child, etc.—it seems entirely possible that the Council was planning to have Kira weave the robe long before the trial ever came up.
Vandara impatiently says that the court must continue with the trial, but the chief guardian tells her that the trial is over. She claims she has the right to know the verdict. The chief guardian responds that she has no rights, but nonetheless tells her that Kira will stay in the village and continue her mother’s work, repairing the Singer’s robe—he points to a large undecorated patch of fabric on the back of the robe. Vandara, he continues, will receive Kira’s land, and may build her pen. Vandara is furious, tells Kira that she will fail and be killed, and walks out. The chief elder tells Kira to gather her possessions and return to the Edifice, where she will be shown to her new living quarters.
This time, it’s Vandara who doesn’t respect the rules of the trial and speaks out of turn—this is Lowry’s way of showing us that the tables have turned in Kira’s favor, and Vandara is getting desperate (it’s also an elegant way of suggestion that Kira is far more mature than the adults who surround her). Vandara also seems childish insofar as she’s still angry with Kira, despite having gained Kira’s land—Lowry suggests that Vandara wanted to banish Kira more than she wanted to build a pen for tykes. Here we also get another indication that women are inferior in the village—the chief guardian reminds Vandara that she has no rights. While this is a snappy comeback, it’s still a nasty reminder that all women—Kira included—are subservient to men in the village.
Kira leaves the Council Edifice, and hears Matt calling her. Kira smiles and notes that Matt’s curiosity equals her own. She notices his dog, named Branch, and remembers how Matt nursed it back to health after it was crushed under a cart. Kira tells Matt that she’ll now live in a new place and that she must return to the Edifice when the bell rings four. Matt tells Kira that he saved some of her things, and that he’ll bring them to her at the steps of the Edifice. They part ways.
Here, we learn more about why Kira and Matt are friends, in spite of their age difference. Both of them are highly curious (curiosity being a common indicator of intelligence). Even more importantly, though, Matt is a compassionate, caring person—he cares about his dog, just as Kira cares about the tykes in the village.
Kira walks by the weaving shed, which she hasn’t visited since her mother’s death. The women greet her in a friendly manner, so she walks inside. There, she notices that there’s an empty loom where the women Camilla usually works. She asks another weaver about Camilla, and learns that Camilla broke her arms by a stream. Since she won’t be able to weave or work in the field, she’ll probably be taken to the field, even though she has five children. The weaver then grins and asks Kira if she wants to work on Camilla’s loom. Kira shakes her head and realizes that it’s nearly time for the ringing of four bells. She leaves the weaving shed and decides to stop by her cott to say goodbye.
Even in the weaving shed, where the women were relatively decent to Kira, there’s no escaping the fact that the village society is cruel and downright mean. Camilla, a woman the other weavers knew well, is going to die because she broke an arm, and the weaver only grins and laugh about it. It’s on this gruesome note that Kira leaves her old life—if life in the Council Edifice is even mildly gentle, we realize, it’s better than life in the village.