'I've been ripped away from my old life,' he said, his head down. 'One that I've been told was never mine in the first place. Everybody's telling me what I have to do, but they're not asking me what I...what I want to do.'
'I understand -,'
'But do you?' he snapped, his frustration pouring out. 'Does anybody else understand what I'm talking about? Nobody else has to deal with the idea that they're going to be a king in a few years. I'm not ready, I'm not qualified. I'm going to be useless.'
Mrs Hogston didn't say anything for a while, she watched him thoughtfully. 'Here's what I think,' she eventually said, her hands together on her lap. 'Nothing is fair about the situation you're in.' That surprised him, she was agreeing with him rather than trying to convince him with privilege and power. 'For any of the Elementals, but especially you. You were raised with the knowledge of a future on the throne, but you have no memory of that. You have no assurance in yourself as a royal, that I can sympathise with. I have been frequently surprised that the other children have reacted so calmly to the techniques and the responsibility, though I suspect they are secretly not so level-headed.
'Let me ask you something. With this new knowledge, do you now look in the mirror and imagine yourself with a crown on your head? Do you see yourself as a king?'
'No, I don't,' he admitted,
'If children your age could suddenly rise to royal stature, then why wait until your eighteenth name days? You don't need to know everything now, there will be things that you will learn over time, and you will be unaware that you have learnt them until the time is right. You are clearly worried about being able to control your abilities, and I will do my best to help you. You will make mistakes though, what matters is whether you view them as just hitches in the ultimate plan, or a cataclysmic dilemma. One way or another, I promise you will recover, and there will be benefits.'
'But what are the benefits of losing my memories? What's so good about hurting one of my friends, even if it was an accident?'
'The way I see it, having your memories locked away has given you something that all of us have, only magnified.'
'And what's that?'
She looked at him seriously, a glimpse of temerity in her eyes. 'A reason to fight back.' She leaned forward, clasping the handle of the tea pot, holding out her hand for his empty cup. 'More cocoa?'