Kira returns to the smoldering remains of her home and finds that virtually all of her possessions have been destroyed. The garden that she and her mother tended is still intact, though, and someone has left a stack of saplings for building nearby. As Kira arrives, a woman emerges from the bushes and begins stealing carrots from the garden. Kira shouts at the woman and drives her off, but not before the scornfully laughing woman steals her fill. Vanadara, a muscular woman with a scar confronts her and tries to shoo her out of the town, but Kira suddenly gets a boost of confidence, and decides to fight back, causing Vandara to get angry and schedule a court meeting.
A messenger arrives at dawn, directing Kira to meet the Council of Guardians at midmorning. Kira washes and grooms herself and then proceeds to the Council Edifice to learn her fate. Kira arrives at the Edifice and enters the hearing chamber, where she stands before the twelve men of the council, the protectors and administrators of her village. After she enters, her accuser, Vandara, starts speaking harshly about her, saying that she does nothing and eats a lot. Her defender, Jamison, also repeats the accusation, but tries to compromise.
To help soothe her nerves, she runs her fingers over a scrap of cloth she stitched with intricate patterns to pass the time as she tended her dying mother. The patterns are unlike anything Kira has ever seen, and she showed it to her mother just before she died.amison refers to the written code of law and points out that there are amendments that state that exceptions can be made to all of the laws Vandara tried to use against Kira. After a lot of arguing, the final agreement is that Kira will fix and finish the singer's robe.