Mother of Learning

by nobody103

Original HIATUS 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.


Next Chapter Target Date: December, 2019 (No Exact Date)

The story updates with a new chapter every 3-4 weeks. I aim for one chapter every 3 weeks, but real life sometimes interferes with that and I end up taking an extra week to finish things.

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.


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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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

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One of the best stories ever told

I can't believe that this has come to Royal Road. This is my all time favorite fiction ever. The story is amazing, the characters change and develop, and the world around the story  is well built without getting bogged down.

If you want an amazing story set in an awesome fantasy world with well thought out characters  this is it. This story is one of the few time travel stories that doesn't get stale or remove any tension, in fact when the characters learn about the nature of the time loop it dramatically notches up the tension. The only criticism I can give is that there are occasional mistyped words/sentences, and some words can be repeated a little too often or too soon. This doesn't keep the story from being the masterpiece that it is in any way. Go read this now.

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I can't get enough of this story!

I have been following this story on Fiction Press for several years and I anxiously await every chapter release. The story, environment and characters are brought to life with a level of quality that is rarely seen in fiction these days. The Author's dedication to quality and substance in this story is on par with the Masters of the Golden Age of Science Fiction and Fantasy from the mid 20th Century.

Each chapter is something that you can sink your teeth into, and unlike most long form fictions or web serials this story has not suffered from any loss of pace or Author burnout.

The characters are fully fleshed out and their personalities are consistent throughout the story. The growth of the main character is not just in his personal power level either, but through his personality and how he views and interacts with the world and characters around him.

The story itself is amazing and I cannot recommend it enough. As I said above, I can’t get enough of this story.

  • Overall Score

Good story, but lack of tension.

The story started great, pulled me right in and kept me there. And then... went on... and on... and lost me.

In most stories (95%+) you can tell that the MC survives until the end of the story and in most also survives said end, simply because it is a story. Yet there is still plenty of tension. Somehow, poooooosssibly related to the very central mechanic, this story has even less tension after the initial chapters.

It just... petters out.

Usually my reading style is: Start - ignore rest of the universe - finish.

It worked for Harry Potter, LoTR, GoT, Malazan, and if you ever needed an example of straining patience with long-winded fluff: Wheel of Time. Among others. All of them and plenty of 'lesser' works (some of them on this site, some of them all over the place: Chinese LN's? Sure, read plenty).

This story though?

Don't get me wrong the start (and what I would have considered the middle, but now looking at the length of the story so far was still the early third) was amazing, but then... less so. Where is the tension? Where is the emotional impact? There are nudges of both, but...

Which in essence describes the story pretty well: "Good, but - dot - dot - dot"

By the time there are the 'great twists' I already stopped caring for most characters. As said before, usually I start a story and if I like it I just steamroll it to the end. There are stories that just turn me off pretty quick, but this one might be one of the very few where I read it a lot at first, then stopped, tried again later, stopped again, tried again a few more times, but simply did not manage to get myself to finish it. Not because it is 'bad', simply because it could not hold my interest anymore.

It turned stale so to speak.

That said, it still is a really good story, simply not quite my cup of tea. Usually not enough of a reason to write a review, and I don't mean to badmouth the story and it also makes me feel a bit bad...


Does it deserve status on the first page? Probably.

Does it deserve the top spot? Oooooooooh, no, sireee, most definitely not.


Why did I bother to write this possibly incoherent review?

A shit-ton of fans are further distorting an already twisted 'Best Rated'.

So in essence, I am writing this out of a heavy dose of pettiness.


Early on I would rate this story 8 out 10, while ever so slowly pettering out to a 5 out of 10 (until I stopped reading around Chapter 70 or 80) - or to use RoyalRoads standards: 5 stars to 4 stars.

On average 4.5, but -0.5 for pettiness (or to restore balance to the for-... to the overinflated other ratings - YOU made me do this!)


Tl;dr: It is a beautiful story full of wonder and possibilities, that somehow manages to become less. And - I feel filthy just typing it - 'overrated'.

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One of the peaks of Fantasy Webfiction

Mother of Learning is a extremely well written story of Groundhog day in a Fantasy world.

Each of the repeats, how the little details change, especially the characters not involved in the time loop (And Xvim, well....)

This has gone right to the very top of my favorites among webfiction for many good reasons, only outdone by A Practical Guide To Evil in just plain epicness and poetry.


Do not miss reading this ever, it is fully worth it.

Luke Scheffe
  • Overall Score

A truly amazing fiction, with logical mechanics

  • Overall Score

One of the best novels on RoyalRoad

Great story with interesting plot and charactors. Well paced and quite long without being a slog. 10/10 would recommend.

Paul Bao H Ngo
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A bit slow on release of new chapters recently

What can I say, nothing except PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE continue to write this great book. The release has slow down significantly since MC woke up in the real world. I cannot imagine not being able to finish this book.

Saffron Heart
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Engaging, Well-Written and Consistent

Reviewed at: 101. The Switch

Among the most well-written among all kind of stories I have read until now.

Since the author has stuck with stuff he/she is good at, the story turns out to be a great read. For example, the planning for the plot and magic system, and no unneccessary moral or ethical preaching (which is very hard to pull-off in a story).

The plot is consistent, has a proper focus and is meticulously planned. How Zorian, the MC, and other characters get influenced by the time-loop is also something that's worth mentioning. And thus you'd grow up liking the characters, the system and the story. 

There are a number of memorable and intriguing characters as well, like the ancient lich. And all of them have some or the other role to play in the bigger picture and plot, which makes the story a delectable treat.

First 3-4 chapters may seem like a drag, because the hook isn't introduced until then. But I suggest that readers stick with the story, and I guarantee that they are up for an enjoyable ride.

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Fortune wrapped in existential terror.

As of Chapter 92 on authors Fiction Press.

Story: Nobody has created a massive and sprawling world thinking through the politics, society, technology, theology and culture of mages, sentient psycic spiders, liches and hilariously stone age humanoid wasps; and how all of them would clash or cooperate with each other in tribes or countries over contenents.  The story reads like it was completly planned out and executed with a goal in mind. Not a stream of consiousness.

   MC time loops one month for years of subjective time.  Exploring learning and going to war with anything that stands in the way of not surviving (he dies sometimes)but existing.  

Style:  The Narration is Excellent and is consistent in following the actions of MC and some of his internal thought processes.  The Narration style is consistent and feels like a narrator telling a story.  Not a drunk bipolar schizophranic telling lies in a bar.  The mechanics of how Nobody shows the story while telling it seems natural and seemless. Narration stays in the present tense throughout.

Grammar: Better than mine ^^.  You can go through dozens of chapters and not notice anything that would distract and stop the flow of the story.  Very rarely there is a mispelled word.  Syntax and word choices make for a flowing enjoyable read.

Character Score:  I think this is where the story really shines.  Other characters see actions and emotions of the MC,  react and judge him in diffrent ways because of it.  All characters feel like real and unique people that grow or dont grow as a mechanic of the time loop.

The premis is good.  The characters are equal parts enjoyable and annoying.  Magic, the fallout of absent gods and politcal intrige run wild.  Pick it up you wont regret it.  

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Incredible Fantasy Groundhog Day

I've been following this for years, and it never gets old. It has great worldbuilding, magic mechanics, plot, grinding, munchkinery, character development, and even interesting side characters. The writing is great as well, with scenes that really leave you empathizing with the characters.

Without any spoilers, this is basically the fantasy version of groundhog day, with magic and mystery. Even with the time loops, the protagonist's power levels are always internally consistent with the story and reasonable, and as of yet, I haven't seen any real plot holes or inconsistencies.

TLDR: 10/10 read it.