An internal conflict is a struggle that takes place within a character's mind, while an external conflict is a struggle that takes place between the character and another character, the society, nature, or even technology. In Gathering Blue, an internal conflict for Kira starts to build as she finds Jo, the little singer, locked in her room and miserable. As she pieces together her own history, Thomas's, and Jo's, she begins to realize that "although her door was unlocked, she was not really free." She starts wishing that she could use her talent with embroidery to create her own designs, not the designs she is required to make on the Singer's robe. As she lies in bed, she wants to "leave this place, despite its comforts, and return to the life she had known." Yet she knows she can't; that life is gone, and she has no way that she can see to build a different future for herself.
One strong external conflict for Kira comes near the beginning of the book. As she comes back from the Field of Leaving, she intends to rebuild her burnt cottage, but Matt warns her that Vandara and the other women have planned to claim her lot and use it for a pen for their tykes and chickens. Vandara confronts her with a rock in her hand and tells her, "Your space is gone. It's mine now. Those saplings are mine." Kira must fend off an imminent stoning by the women, yet because of her disability she has few options for fight or flight. She uses her analytical skills, reminding the women of the laws against killing someone in a dispute that has not been brought before the guardians.
One of Kira's internal conflicts is her desire to pursue her artistic abilities freely rather than being controlled by the guardians. An external conflict is her confrontation with Vandara.