In 1058, Gruadh is excited to greet Lulach, who has just arrived at Elgin. She is happy to see her grandson, Nechtan, who is a toddler but already mormaer of Moray, and her granddaughter, Ailsa.
Gruadh’s family line is represented in her grandchildren, who not only bear her DNA, but the names of their deceased great-grandparents.
The family gathers inside. Gruadh is acting regent of Moray for young Nechtan, and he jokingly asks her “how his province fares.” Lulach asks Gruadh about any messages from Malcolm mac Duncan. Lulach plans to gather forces, using memories of and loyalty to Macbeth to rally troops.
Although not his blood descendant, Lulach is Macbeth’s son in every other way, and wants to honor his father’s legacy by using his armies and the people’s loyalty to him to defend the throne.
Ruari and Lulach tell Gruadh that Macbeth has finally been buried at Iona, as he always wanted to be.
Macbeth always loved the tradition of kings being buried at Iona, and his own burial there adds legitimacy to his rein and legacy.
Lulach plans to launch an attack on Malcolm mac Duncan’s forces, and wants to move Gruadh to a safer fortress. She refuses, instead she will go live in solitude in a small house where Malcolm cannot find her and marry her or kill her, and where she will be removed from war and politics. She plans to “seek a little peace and magic.”
Although not explicitly stated, Gruadh likely will go live in Enya’s house, or a similar cottage, growing old as a king of prophetess and witch. The book’s ending is uplifting, but historically Lulach died later that year in a clash with Duncan.