Gruadh names her son Lulach. It is the name of one of her ancestors. Although Maeve comments it is “a name for a milch cow,” Gruadh explains “cattle are our best wealth […] and he is my fortune.”
Lulach is Gruadh’s only heir, and the only direct heir left in her family (aside from her nephew) and so represents the hopes, dreams, and wealth of many generations.
Macbeth invites his personal bard, Dermot mac Conall, to Elgin. One day the bard asks to speak with both Gruadh and Macbeth in preparation for Lulach’s baptism. As they prepare to meet Dermot Macbeth asks Gruadh is she will give her son a tattoo like she has. Gruadh cannot tell whether or not Macbeth approves of Celtic practices and so is careful to explain she has not decided, and that her mother, who tattooed her “saw no conflict between Celtic traditions and her Christian faith.”
Gruadh is aware that although she and her mother and father all believed that Christianity and Celtic traditions could coexist, not everyone agrees. She doesn’t want to offend her new husband nor reveal personal details about her split faith that he will disapprove of.
Macbeth explains Dermot is a fathach, or prophet, and has made a star map of the day Lulach was born, which can be used to divine his future. Macbeth had his own future told on the day he was born but does not reveal what the stars told him.
Macbeth, like Gruadh, believes in Celtic traditions and in fortunetelling. Bards generally are used to record the past, but in this situation, he can also look towards the future.
Dermot arrives and tells Gruadh what he has seen—Lulach will live happily until twenty. He will be a good and brave man and will be king. Gruadh is excited but concerned. She wonders what will happen to Lulach after he turns twenty.
Fortune telling is often imprecise, which helps stave off heartbreak. Gruadh does not know if Lulach will die at twenty, or simply become unhappy. The uncertainty protects her from premature tragedy.
Gruadh wonders if Dermot mapped the stars and told Macbeth the best time to ride into Moray. Macbeth denies this. Gruadh then asks if Dermot has seen that Macbeth will be king. Dermot explains Macbeth has a great destiny, so great that he does not need to rely on the stars. Gruadh asks Macbeth if he believes in divination and omens, which he says he does. Gruadh then makes Dermot promise he did not help Macbeth kill her husband and take over Moray.
Although she has begun to forgive Macbeth for her first husband’s death (which he has yet to admit to), she hopes he hasn’t used divination, which is so important to her, to kill Gilcomgan. She sees this as a misuse of the power of prophecy. Although Macbeth aspires to be king, his ambition is so strong he doesn’t need to look into the future.
Gruadh decides to reveal that she can see visions of the future. She tells Macbeth she once saw “a crownlike light about your head.” She feels that she now has power over Macbeth— knowing that he believes in omens and knowing that he believes she can see them.
Gruadh saw Macbeth’s crown over a year earlier. She tells him this as a kind of gift and peace-offering, but also as a way to control him, knowing that she will have power if he believes she can see their futures.
Angus, Bethoc, and an envoy from Fife arrive late in the winter. They also bring gifts from Dolina. Gruadh is happy to be reunited with friends and to be reminded of home. She even feels more warmly towards Macbeth.
Being surrounded by family makes Gruadh feel warm and loved. This, in turn, allows her to feel warmer and more generously towards her husband.
Catriona returns home to her son. She is a widow and although she has had marriage offers she has turned them down so far. As a fellow widow, Gruadh understands her reluctance to remarry, and her desire to be reunited with her son. However, Bethoc dislikes Catriona and is not upset when she leaves.
Although Gruadh is often the central grudge-holding character, Bethoc surprisingly holds a grudge. Although Catriona saved Gruadh’s life and Bethoc was not even there, she perhaps feels resentful that she was not the one to deliver her friend’s baby.
Lulach has his naming ceremony, which, according to custom, Gruadh is not allowed to attend. Maeve goes however, and afterwards tells Gruadh of a strange encounter on the road to the church. Una, the coal burner’s wife, ambushed them and prophesized that Lulach would one day wear a crown. She also offered him protection and gave a small stone. She also told Macbeth that there was a crown in his future, and he would be remembered longer than his son. Gruadh wonders if that means she and Macbeth will have sons together.
Many of the prophecies regarding Macbeth say the same thing—that he will be king. Constantly concerned with her legacy, she worries this means that she and Macbeth will have no heirs.
Maeve notes that Macbeth has strong ambition, and that marrying Gruadh strengthened his claim to the throne and increased his power. Maeve believes that one day Gruadh will be queen.
Gruadh knows that she has a strong claim to the throne, but this is the first time she considers how her claim is strengthened by her second marriage.