Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. When she is given a task that no other community member can carry out, Kira soon realizes that she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her...
Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.
Kira: The main character. She is kept in the Edith after her mom dies because of her ability to make beautiful embroideries. Soon enough realizes that secrets are all over her.
Thomas the Carver: He is a boy who like Kira has lost his parents and been brought to the edifice. He is an artist with the gift to carve wood.
Matt: Kira's young friend who speaks improperly and lives in a slum-like neighborhood known as the fen. He is Kira's best friend even though he is younger. Matt is very smart for his age and especially for living in the fen. Living with his mother who abuses him - but is always cheerful and active.
Christopher: Kira's father who was lost years ago before Kira was born. People say he was killed by the 'beast', but would it be true?
Jamison: Jamison is Kira's defender in her trial and her overseer/mentor throughout the book. But there are secrets that is waiting to be revealed all over him...
Annabella: A gifted dyer of thread. She taught both Kira and Katrina how to dye. Her four syllable name means she is old, and full of knowledge.
Katrina: Kira's mother who died before the book started and her spirit slowly drifting away. The only one who cared for Kira in the village even with her crippled leg.
Jo: A young singer from the Fen who lives in the wing below Kira and Thomas
Branch: Matt's dog who accompanied him everywhere he went. He has a bent tail and likes to eat bugs. Matt rescued him and healed the dog and kept it as his own. Also called Branchie
'Take pride in your pain,' her mother had always told her. 'You are stronger than those who have none.'
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They were forcing the children to describe the future they wanted, not the one that could be.
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Fear was always a part of life for the people. Because of fear, they made shelter and found food and grew things. For the same reason, weapons were stored, waiting. There was fear of cold, of sickness and hunger. There was fear of beasts.
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The blue was gathered in her hand, and she could feel it quiver, as if it had been given breath and was beginning to live.
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Only then did it occur to Kira to wonder, Who found her? How did they know to look?
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Suddenly Kira knew that although her door was unlocked, she was not really free. Her life was limited to these things and this work. She was losing the joy she had once felt when the bright-colored threads took shape in her hands, when the patterns came to her and were her own.
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'Night comes, and colors fade away; sky fades, for blue can never stay...''
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It was the way, the custom, and it was the merciful thing, to give an unnamed, imperfect infant back to the earth before its spirit had filled it and made it human.
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'He be there, watching, walking beside, when the draggers tooken the old dyer to the Field,' Matt said. So Jamison already knew.
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Because they were artists, they had some value that she could not comprehend. Because of that value, the three of them were here, well fed, well housed, and nurtured.
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