Mother of Learning

by nobody103

Original COMPLETED Adventure Fantasy Mystery Magic

Zorian is a teenage mage of humble birth and slightly above-average skill, attending his third year of education at Cyoria's magical academy. He is a driven and irritable young man, consumed by a desire to ensure his own future and free himself of the influence of his family, whom he resents for favoring his brothers over him. Consequently, he has no time for pointless distractions or paying attention to other people's problems. As it happens, time is something he is about to get plenty of. On the eve of the Cyoria's annual summer festival, he is killed and brought back to the beginning of the month, just before he was about to take a train to Cyoria. Suddenly trapped in a time loop with no clear end or exit, Zorian will have to look both within and without to unravel the mystery before him. And he does have to unravel it, for the time loop hadn't been made for his sake and dangers lurk everywhere... Repetition is the mother of learning, but Zorian will have to first make sure he survives to try again - in a world of magic, even a time traveler isn't safe from those who wish him ill.

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If anyone is interested, I have a story-related worldbuilding site that can be found here. I don't update it as often as I should, but there is a fair amount of content there already. It also contains a page with all the fanart, fan translations, audio books and the like - you can reach it directly by clicking this link.

I have a patreon account for those kind people that want to give me money. It also contains info for those who want to donate via paypal.

The story was originally posted on fictionpress, back in 2011. When I reached chapter 91, I started uploading the story to RoyalRoad, one chapter per day. The story will continue to be updated on fictionpress as well as here, and can be reached by clicking on this link if somebody is interested, though at this point there is nothing there that isn't also on RoyalRoad.

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The cover you see on the side has been made by a fellow RoyalRoad user Sydorow. Thank you for your time and art skills.

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nobody103

nobody103

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1. Good Morning Brother ago
2. Life’s Little Problems ago
3. The Bitter Truth ago
4. Stars Fell ago
5. Start Over ago
6. Concentrate and Try Again ago
7. Of Gaps And Pretending ago
8. Perspective ago
9. Cheaters ago
10. Overlooked Details ago
11. Limiters ago
12. Soul Web ago
13. Any Second Now ago
14. The Sister Effect ago
15. Busy Friday ago
16. We Need To Talk ago
17. Sympathy for the Spider ago
18. The Pact is Sealed ago
19. Tangled Webs ago
20. A Matter of Faith ago
21. Wheel of Fortune ago
22. Complications ago
23. Lighting the Fuse ago
24. Smoke and Mirrors ago
25. The Unexpected ago
26. Soulkill ago
27. Cast Adrift ago
28. Cauldron ago
29. The Hunters and the Hunted ago
30. A Game of Shops ago
31. Marked ago
32. Alternatives ago
33. Gateways ago
34. Unreasonable Things ago
35. Mistakes Have Been Made ago
36. A Battle of Minds ago
37. Slow Burn ago
38. Return to Cyoria ago
39. Suspicious Coincidences ago
40. Shifting Tracks ago
41. Myriad Clashing Motives ago
42. Sum of its Parts ago
43. Overwhelmed ago
44. A Show of Trust ago
45. Fine Structures ago
46. The Other Side ago
47. Politics ago
48. Well of Souls ago
49. Substitution ago
50. Containment ago
51. Out of Control ago
52. Things Fall Apart ago
53. Phantoms ago
54. The Gate Is Barred ago
55. Threshold ago
56. Obscure ago
57. Unwanted ago
58. Questions and Answers ago
59. One Step Forward ago
60. Into the Abyss ago
61. Anthills ago
62. Improperly Used ago
63. The March of Days ago
64. Distance ago
65. Dangerous Ground ago
66. Marred Perfection ago
67. Convergence ago
68. Green Hell ago
69. Ruin ago
70. Carried Away ago
71. Shadows of the Past ago
72. Crossroads ago
73. Plodding Ahead ago
74. The Return ago
75. Soul Stealer ago
76. Critical Blunder ago
77. Testing ago
78. Grinding Stone ago
79. Crime and Evading Punishment ago
80. Enemies ago
81. A Civil Conversation ago
82. Ancient Circles ago
83. Scorpion ago
84. Powerless ago
85. Critical Mass ago
86. A New World ago
87. Agents of the Crown ago
88. Mysterious Ways ago
89. Victory ago
90. Change of Plans ago
91. A Path Paid in Blood ago
92. The Scramble ago
93. Shelter in the Storm ago
94. Ghosts ago
95. Betrayer ago
96. Contract ago
97. Illusory ago
98. Beneath the Surface ago
99. Powderkeg ago
100. Sacrifice ago
101. The Switch ago
102. Giants ago
103. Window of Opportunity ago
104. I Win (I) ago
105. I Win (II) ago
106. I Win (III) ago
Epilogue ago
Afterword ago

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Peculiarflame86
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I found this story by accident one day. And I never put it down. Now that its potentially over, I believe any future readers (or fellow loopers) shall come and be awed by this beautiful tale of triumph and adversity. Watching them (the characters) grow is wonderful and I must now let them go for now.

Which saddens me. I had seen go from who they were to what they want to be. And I shall miss them

NorskDaedalus
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One of the best Webfictions out there

Reviewed at: 106. I Win (III)

Now that it's finally done, I can concretely say that this is one of the best pieces of fantasy fiction I have read, and heads and tails above almost everything online.

Characters are believable and have great arcs, the story and mystery are both gripping and have satisfying conclusions, and the world around the story is one of the best I've come across.

An absolute must-read.

Blue09
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Just have to give this review as my ultimate gratitude.

Reviewed at: 106. I Win (III)

Ive read this story for years on fictionpress. Most authors do not preserve writing their story. Not for... almost a decade? O_o

I do not know why, but this story was actually always my favorit. Maybe because the MC is not super overpowerd and has to mostly rely on solving his problems more with wit than just power through. Maybe because he had to strugle so hard to get where he ended. Maybe because of the awe inspiring world building. Or maybe because the long years that ive looked forward to the next chapter release.

Most likely, because all of these ressons.

Alas, all good things have to end. I dont realy think there will be a sequel. Its possible, the month is over, so zorians advantures AFTER the month could be written - but then, would it be like MoL? Its propably the sentimental attachement i have to this story and the knowledge that only the epilog is missing before the story ends that makes me wish it would go on forever and ever. Parting is such bittersweet... >_<

Dear Nobody103, i thank you for all these years and this great story. Thank alot man, my best wishes to you and your future endevors. =)) So 5 stars. No other rating i can give you can show you what this story meant to me.

 

Blue

Lajamerr
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This is an amazingly well-written story.

I've been following this story for a long-time now. After catching up initially, I anxiously waited every month for the next chapter release.

Zorian is a mage who due to (un)fortunate events ends up in a timeloop. At the end of the month during the summer festival he wakes up finding himself in bed a month prior. No matter what he does it seems he can't escape this situation.

The readers will be just as curious as to why this happening, going on a journey discovering clues and hints with Zorian to the secrets of this heaven-defying event. Is it possible to break out of this timeloop? Would you even want to?

IsTiredAndNeedsToPoop
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Possibly THE best free fantasy story

Reviewed at: Afterword

Yes it's way up there, and it's a completed story with an actual satisfying ending!

The characters and style are both great. But for me what stands out most compared to other good magic stories is the internal consistency of the world, both with believable characters and their motivations and reactions and the laws of magic. Magic feels powerfull, but not easy, not a free 'I win' button.

 

Must read!

Laeosari
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Top tier worldbuilding and character development

I've been following Mother of Learning elsewhere for years and I still look forward to every update. The story takes its time to really build up the world and characters, every part of it has the depth to really draw you in and get you invested in the story.

The start can be a bit slow but it is worth giving it a few chapters.
I fully expect this to hit the top ranks on here!

amin0
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A great read but too dry for my tastes

As some reviewers have stated, they're not big fans of romance and considers it a plus to the story. I'm the opposite, my attention and patience with the novel keeps waning as I read more and more. This doesn't mean that this isn't a good read, it is. It's so detailed and meticulous that I'm sure fans of the magic/fantasy genre absolutely treat this as their gospel. To be impartial, this story is easily 4.5-5 stars based on the writing ability and the story itself. If I wanted to factor in my personal preferences, I would rate this a solid 4 stars.

 

The style of the story is very good with the only detraction being too standardized. It's generally in line with other books of the genre and doesn't really seem to carry any quirks to make it stand out. Totally fine though, the plot makes up for it.

 

The story is great. A couple particular aspects that time-loop stories needs are continuation and foreshadowing. Continuation/consistancy lets the readers know the author is competant when working with time-loops. Every single little detail needs to be the exact same way, with only some random variation that could be explained by human nature or randomness. Foreshadowing lets the readers know that the author has his plot figured out in advance instead of writing day-by-day. The author doesn't retroactively add hidden identities, plot points, or mechanics  that wasn't hinted in before or introduced as a possibility in the early chapters of the story. The story does meander and linger too long on some random side plot, it almost feels like a slice of life novel at times. It tries to make up for it by tying it into the main plotline, but it doesn't mean that it still didn't feel like filler at the time. On the other hand, other time-loop stories tend to hyper focus on just one setting and one story iteration. This story actually does feel like it has an entire world inside of it, it's not just a few buildings with 10 characters interacting with the MC. This story has the entire world interacting with the MC and really lets the reader experience world building. I would like for the author to find a balance in letting his MC experience the world, but also cut down on the feelings of filler.

 

I have no problems with the grammar. I didn't notice any mistakes or awkwardness in the writing that broke my immersion of the writing at any point. Compared to the average writing level of this site, this might as well be the Holy Bible of English Writing.

 

The MC(Main Character) for the most part should be a well received personality by the audience. The author is very straightforward on the character's lack of social IQ and specific personality faults, which I imagine is the perfect MC for the audience base of novel. The MC does have character growth that shores up some of his rough edges, but the early chapters still left a mark on my enjoyment of the story. I particularly wasn't impressed about how he reacted to the time-loop; although, I'll admit that it's not an unreasonable reaction. I would prefer if the MC and side characters had a little more common sense, I didn't like some really stubborn reactions they had to the time-loop. The side characters are beautifully multi-dimensional. Meaning, they have more than one cliche personality tag, they have more than one reaction to interactions, and they have irrational character points contrary to their archtype. Like others, I really enjoyed the heartwarming interactions the MC had with his little sister, I thought it was the highlight of the novel.

The Abyss
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Mother of Learning is an uncommon find among fantasy stories, and one that enamoured me like no other.

Try as you may, but you will find no major fault in this story. All the plot points are well thought out, leaving no questions regarding what exactly is happening to our dear friend Zorian. All of the characters have proper motivation behind their actions, and there is no obvious deus ex machina that pops out for conveniences sake, at least until the point that I read. Which, if you were curious, was chapter 23.

Though the blocks of text may seem intimidating, and may even cause your eyes extreme fatigue (as it did mine), I can guarantee that the read is more than worth it.

2D4LIFE
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A story with an ending, what else could I ask for? LOL

Armal2015
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My first review! The only thing that I have to say is... this is. A. Masterpiece. It has been a pleasure to be here from the begining to the end.