"As the child grew," continued Hordriss, "it became clear that the procedure that had enabled his conception had not gone as expected. Ergo's advanced awareness was merely a signal of a greater complication: the child had acquired magical abilities.
"One tried one's best to guide the child, to protect him. As one has said before, both my daughter and I had difficulty controlling our powers in our youths, and one feared that in a creature as naturally feral as an ogre, these tribulations would be drastically magnified."
The other narrator passes comment. "I tried me 'ardest too. So did Grimwold. If 'e didn't believe that prophecy before, 'e certainly did then!"
Young Grimwold tries to take it all in. The guilt-ridden wizard striving to undo the damage he'd unwittingly caused. The mother overwhelmed by her shattered dream. The father confronted by a derisive predestined inferiority that was beyond his ken. Suddenly his pain feels insignificant. And yet, it is his pain - his arduous lifelong struggle against his ogre side, and his shunning of magic - that is allowing him to sympathise with his brother: that violent inner turmoil exacerbated beyond belief by magical ability, an unwanted gift that could turn the darkness within into horrendous reality.
"Ergo was my son, but so 'elp me, a mother's love weren't enough. My sisters said 'e was cursed. All those awful spells. Ever wondered where Ariadne came from? That was Ergo. And as for poor old Festus... 'e used to be a cat!"
YG closes his eyes and swallows. He knows he must keep his composure. Hordriss asked him to. He must stay quiet and hear the rest. But he wants to scream.
"Master Grimwold, one senses that you are feeling the burden of this story," remarks Hordriss. "One apolog... I am sorry. And while one is sure you would not wish the narrative to be curtailed, one will not labour over the remainder." This is not as altruistic as it seems. Hordriss is feeling the strain of the recollections as well. "Ergo felt the anguish of his own predicament more than anyone else. One must emphasise that the action we took was our final resort; yet it was suggested by Ergo himself."
Hordriss is explaining, but YG already knows. When he realised that others had become casualties of his inner struggle, and had suffered more than they ever deserved, he exiled himself from the Dungeon, hoping that all could be healed. Ergo wanted the same.
Mrs. Grimwold shares words. "Ergo got magicked away to goodness-knows-where. And 'e asked for 'is memory to be wiped. It was terribly sad, but I only needed to look at Festus' five tails to remind meself of 'im. Then you came along, dearie! We didn't fuss about with names, 'cause we 'oped you wouldn't turn out the same."
YG feels like saying "And did I?" He feels like saying many things. He looks at Hordriss, whose head is bowed. "Thank you... for explaining. I'm not angry." That isn't true - he's always angry. Yet YG has found more empathy with his mother and father, and with Hordriss, the man who made them his parents, than he ever expected to. Even so, his temper is crystallising into ardour and, unusually for him, audacity. He decides to be a little more forthright. "He may not have wanted you to find him, but he has a brother now. I have a brother. If I can, I... I will find him."
Discussion between the trio continues for a while longer. After Hordriss has made his excuses and departed, Young Grimwold helps Mrs. Grimwold to tidy the room. He finds himself wanting to chat with her more, but tiredness surmounts his wishes.
The next day, replenished in unforeseen ways, Young Grimwold steps outside. His mother has told him that if he goes searching for his brother, he must keep looking for Festus too; but YG is confident that one will lead to the other. Confidence - not a state of mind (or of heart) that he is accustomed to. A smile feels too self-congratulatory, but he does allow himself the indulgence of a few words, spoken aloud:
"Ergo. Ergo cogito sum." 'I think therefore I am.' YG pauses as he chooses his direction, then speaks again, modifying the philosophical aphorism:
"Ergo cogito est." 'I think therefore he is.' After a valedictory glance at his family home, Young Grimwold walks on.