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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Shardj
  • Overall Score

One of the best books I've ever read

Reviewed at: Afterword

The sheer detail and complexity of the story, yet keeping it easy to understand and all the same keeping you on the edge throughout the book. 10/10

ZapDaddy
  • Overall Score

A good 'groundhog day' loop stopy

Reviewed at: Afterword

I enjoyed reading it quite a bit. If you're a fan of longer chapters, this book exceeds the normal chapter sizes for Royal roads by quite a bit. The characters are interesting and appealing, and the storyline is in no way boring.

I am in no way of fan of spiders, but this story makes me want to meet the spiders that are in it. the world this story is set in as interesting as well. It's not overly detailed but it's quite large and has plenty of room for more concurrent or follow-up stories. I definitely recommend reading the story.

Ians Not My Name
  • Overall Score

Probably the best fantasy that this site has seen

Reviewed at: Afterword

Just need to say that this is probably the best non-comedic fantasy fiction this site has ever seen. Just soooooo good. You probably already knew that though.

JExtra
  • Overall Score

It's by far the best novel on this site.

Try it out. You won't be disappointed.

Orrm
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The closest thing to a perfect novel I have ever seen throughout the interweb

Reviewed at: Afterword

I love this story and adore what it represents, a genre done right. Characters gain power at a good pace, characters are explored magnificently, plot pacing is heavenly and there is never a boring part or lull which would result in leaving the story to 'continue' it later. 

A hallmark in virtual novels. 

 

I'm going to be honest here, the beginning of the story was captivating, but a bit slow, however, the plot progressed and the author really displayed his skill and grabs your attention to the point where you find yourself blazing through the story in its entirety with a fervent passion akin to a raging inferno as it caresses a wooden house. 

There are very few plot-holes in the story, despite its length and characters are flushed out so well!

This piece uses that small cast and does wonders with it, and from beginning to end its one hell of a ride becuase you learn so much through sk many different events. Every chapter is novel in some way and ALWAYS introduces some new element or piece of information to the story. 

These additions are never irrelevant. 

There are no great leaps in logic, no plot-convenience nor and McGuffins or concrete elements.

Power is balanced in the story and it goes through great lengths to clearly express to you, the reader, that regardless of power, you can die. 

Beyond that, antagonists and protagonists, as well as the supporting cast, all have a sense of depth and while this depth may vary depending on screen time, it's done in a way that allows you to easily understand what you're reading and possible long-reaching consequences of various courses of action. 

Also, the author is an expert at integrating modern ideas or references in a way that makes the world your ead seem foreign to what you know. Frankly, I'm impressed. No author I've ever read from gas managed to do it so thoroughly and so convincingly as this one has. 

Also, there are occasional theory-dumps, but those mainly occur at the last few chapters and are quite small, the only inconvenience is that you won't understand how the very complex magic functions. And the author sometimes fails to properly integrate certain jargon or trips over modern terms. Though, this only occurs 3 times in the story. This story is 108 chapters long. I find that almost complete lack of errors/blunders, amazing. 

Magic itself, is astounding in how well it's presented. The way its explored is astounding and the growth which occurs throughout the story is both believable and logical. That's a very hard thing to find in ANY story.

And in later chapters there are some grammatical errors, but I chalk that up to them not being edited yet. 

Dear me, I almost forgot the fights! Nothing in battle is ever static and every single one is unique, never once have I grown bored reading a fight in this story, quite the opposite. I don't know what is going to happen and I cannot accurately predict how their new skills will apply. Also, the style makes the scenes very concise and to the point. 

Redundancies are an extinct species in this novel. 

All in all, despite some minor gripes with the story, it's a thoroughly captivating experience that I would recommend to everyone. 

Thor Aegir
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A great time loop story in a fantasy setting

Reviewed at: Afterword

This story is a great epic fantasy based in a time loop setting. Discover with the main character the complex political situation of his kingdom and how enemies plots its fall.

The author has created a complex plot with many twists and a somewhat dark background. A great read and probably a future classic of fantasy literature.

Wili911
  • Overall Score

 Few books achieve an interesting time-loop based story, this one does it, and it's great. 

van
  • Overall Score

I read this in 3 days!

Reviewed at: Afterword

I've finished it. Three days and I finished it. Oh my god. I love it. I really do. It's just one of those stories that pull you to the world and mind of the protagonist, and even if it ended, it lingers in the reader's mind and imagination. The twists of perspective and layers that were placed in every revelation are amazing. The payout in every mystery is wonderful and satisfying. It's like we are right there in the puzzle-solving of this wonderful universe.

And I just truly love happy endings in fantasy stories. Especially those that are worth it, and man if this is not one of those epic stories. Overall it should be depressing but there are so many fun moments that I even caught myself laughing. And the characters, although it has reached a point of no return still hold on their morals and what they have to do. Good people. Good story. Man, I really love these, since I often read about grimdark lately, so this is a nice breath of fresh air. Really, really thank you for sharing this story. And definitely will check author's other work.

As to the review. Your protagonists are real people, facing real consequences, and having the opportunity to have mistakes, and be screwed over, but still rise to the challenge. Just inspiring. Again, the happy-dark duo trope is one of my favorites and I like how it panned out in this. True friendship stories, rather than romantic stories, is a better read for me, so thank you. The afterword, the author mentioned about the voice of the character not being distinct. It does show, especially when women and men have the same voice if they are badass, and if they are not then they are mostly delegated to more version-ey character tropes out there. I like your men better, they leave a strong impression. 

I love how you went into the unravelling of the world. It's very enjoyable how you factored in every reiteration of the loop. And the details. I could reread your story and found something new every time. Kudos.

NIV3K
  • Overall Score

One of the best web serials. Even better now that it has been finished.

Heavenly_Earthworm
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A review in two words: Worth It

Reviewed at: Afterword

To all fans of books out there, especially in the fantasy genre, it is simply worth the time it takes to read it. You might have wished the characters were stronger, smarter, faster, or that certain events never happened, or that certain things did happen. You might have wished for an antihero, or a paragon of justice. What we have gotten however is in essence an epic worth reading. I and many others are better for having read it. The best thing this book has done is relaxed my suspension of belief to it's lowest. Everything is plausible and logical for human understanding assuming a world like this existed. Nothing contradicts itself and that makes it immensely satisfying to read. Even just reading this to explore world settings in otherworldly fantasy is simply, worth it.