Gruadh is happy to have Macbeth home for an evening. He has been spending weeks and months fighting Thorfin at the Moray border and managing Duncan. At dinner, Dermot recounts a battle between Macbeth and Thorfin, where Thorfin relied upon the magic of his raven banner. Dermot concludes his poem calling Macbeth “fierce” and “generous” and notes that although his poem is concluded for the night it “will only be complete when Macbeth achieves his destiny.” Gruadh decides she must use magic to protect her husband. She decides to visit Enya, Thorfin’s grandmother, who taught Thorfin his own magic.
Gruadh will go to any lengths to protect her famil, and decides she must use magic in order to defend her husband. Dermot’s story about Thorfin’s raven banner, and Dermot’s belief that Macbeth will achieve his destiny and become king, inspires Gruadh to seek out Thorfin’s grandmother, who enchanted his banner, in order to enchant an object for her husband, and help him win the crown.
That spring Gruadh returns to Elgin. While there, she is happy to hear Thorfin and his army has been temporarily distracted by infighting. Thorfin’s nephew betrayed him, and Thorfin in turn murdered his nephew. Gruadh thinks killing family “takes a black heart,” but Macbeth notes that “when kin slaughters kin, it cannot always be judged poorly […] sometimes it is necessary.”
Gruadh has become more comfortable with violence, or, at least, less disturbed by it. Still, there are certain kinds of violence that horrify her—such as the murder of a relative. Macbeth, who himself has murdered relatives (including his cousin, Gilcomgan) understands that sometimes there are no other solutions.
Later in the year, Gruadh is upset to hear Lady Sybilla died in childbirth. She remembers her promise to watch over her children Malcolm mac Duncan and Donald Bán. Gruadh still has not told Macbeth about her oath, and wonders if she will be able to fulfill it.
Gruadh’s oath begins to haunt her, in conjunction with Una’s prophecy—she knows to beware of the son of the man Macbeth will kill to be king, and it increasingly seems like Duncan will be that man, and his children thus will be threats.
Accompanied by Angus, Aella, and other guards, Gruadh finally goes to meet Enya. Enya greets Gruadh as Queen, which she corrects to Lady, and Gruadh greets Enya as Lady, which she corrects to Mother. Enya recognizes that Gruadh wants “an end to sorrow,” and can tell that Gruadh herself can see the future and doesn’t need Enya’s help. Gruadh explains she wants “good omens and powerful charms” to bring fortune to herself and her family.
Because Enya can see the future, she can likely see that one day Gruadh will be queen, which is why she addresses her as such. Enya can also tell that Gruadh can see the future without help, but, although this is true Gruadh often does need assistance in untangling her visions. Additionally, she came not for fortune telling but for spells.
The two women look into a bowl of water together. Enya predicts Gruadh will have two sons, although they “remain in God’s hands.” Gruadh is not excited by this news. Enya then has Gruadh tell her own future. Looking into the water Gruadh sees a boat carrying a dying king. She cannot determine any details, but Enya says this is for the best.
Enya tells Gruadh what she has heard before—that she will have sons with Macbeth, but they will not grow into warriors, and will remain “in God’s hands”—that is, they will die young. Her vision of a dying king is important and represents several distinct moments in Gruadh’s life yet to come.
Gruadh asks Enya about Thorfin’s raven banner. Enya admits she gave it power through spells and charms. Enya refuses to help strengthen Macbeth against her grandson, but agrees to help Gruadh, although warns her that she can either choose to study magic or be queen. Gruadh rejects this binary, arguing that if she is going to be queen she has to do her best to help her husband. Finally, Enya gives the younger woman a brooch that Gruadh will say a spell of protection over.
Throughout her life Gruadh has been told she can only be a good wife or a good woman if she behaves in a certain way. She has continually rejected this binary, and rejects it again, believing she can be a queen and practice magic. The protective brooch mirrors Gruadh’s own brooch, which she took from a man who kidnapped her as a child, and which reminds her of her own strength.
Duncan continues to fight Thorfin and lose. That summer, Macbeth comes home one evening and he and Gruadh watch the northern lights. Macbeth says they are “celebration for a king and a queen.” He tells Gruadh that if they never have a son, he will make Lulach his heir. He adds that Lulach, because of laws of Celtic succession, would be his heir, and anyway, is his son “in all ways but one.”
Although Gruadh and Macbeth have been unable to produce an heir, Macbeth sees Lulach as his true son, and wants him to be part of his legacy. In a way this is direct succession, but it also follows the Celtic tradition of zigzag succession, because it technically passes to another branch of the family tree.