Dolina polishes and scrubs the household at Abernethy in preparation for the wedding. Dolina has Gruadh purchase silk and linen to sew into bedclothes, gowns, and undergarments for her new life as Lady of Moray.
Dolina loves her stepdaughter and wants to best for her. She also wants to train Gruadh to be a good wife, which means a woman who understands the domestic sphere and is prepared to run a household.
That May, Gruadh and Gilcomgan are married. Gruadh had wanted a Celtic wedding, but instead she has a Christian one. That night, after a lively feast and celebration, Dolina and Graudh’s women help her undress and bathe. Dolina places small trinkets of protection around the room, and Maeve gives her a drink made to lessen the pain and increase her arousal. Eventually, Gilcomgan comes into the room, drunk. He jumps into bed, as is tradition, and the two have sex. Gruadh describes him as “inconsiderate and unskilled,” and in the morning, when he tries to have sex again, she shoves him away.
Celtic traditions help connect Gruadh to her family, especially her mother, and Scotland’s ancient past. However, even though the ceremony is Christian, elements of Celtic traditions remain in the post wedding celebrations, blending together aspects of new and old religions. Gruadh has sex with Gilcomgan because she feels it is her duty as a wife—both to satisfy Gilcomgan and to continue her own family line.
The day before Gruadh leaves Abernathy for Moray, she goes to Luag, Bodhe’s bard. She asks him about Moray, and he tells her about the history of the land, the generations of men who conquered and claimed it. He assures her she will be a “contented lady” in her new home. Before Gruadh leaves, Drostan comes to tell her that he will not come with her to Moray and is instead going to become a monk. Gruadh is sad but understands his decision. The next day she and Gilcomgan leave her childhood home.
Although Gruadh does not want to leave she knows she must, in order to make her family proud, and to continue their line. Here, a bard acts as a kind of living library, helping give Gruadh the information and strength she needs to confront this new, frightening chapter of her life.
In the weeks and months after Gruadh and Gilcomgan arrive at his fortress in Moray, the couple begins to get along. She enjoys they time they spend together, and even enjoys having sex with her husband. Gilcomgan is a good storyteller and entertains her in the evenings. His easy nature helps her forget that he once murdered his uncle, Finlach.
Gilcomgan’s storytelling not only shapes his version of events, but also shapes Gruadh’s opinion of him, helping her warm to him and accept her role as his wife. Although she knows he is capable of violence, she forgives and forgets because of his easy-going nature.
Gruadh hangs rowan branches, juniper, and pine over the doorways for luck. She spends her days spinning yarn and teaching Aella to read. She does her domestic duties but is not allowed to handle swords. Gilcomgan tells her, “I want sons of you […] not wounds.” Gruadh does not feel fully like the Lady of Moray, as Gilcomgan doesn’t like traveling, and therefore has not taken her to meet her subjects.
When Gilcomgan tells Gruadh he wants sons, not wounds, he’s probably making a double entendre; he wants her to have children, as opposed to hurting herself fighting, but he also wants male heirs, and not female ones (“wounds” could refer to female genitals). Male children could inherit his lands and titles, whereas female children could not.
After almost a year of marriage, Gruadh misses her period. She has some morning sickness at the beginning of her pregnancy, but it quickly resolves itself. She is happy at the prospect of “fulfill[ing] my responsibility,” and wonders if her time as Rue of Sorrows is over and joy is in her future.
Gruadh is excited to be pregnant because she sees bearing children to be her duty as wife, and as the child of Bodhe. At once she is satisfying her husband and continuing her family line.