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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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.

NorskDaedalus
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One of the best stories out there

Reviewed at: Afterword

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.

distro
Overall

if you hadn't discovered this story yet, it is your loss.

follow the journey of discovery of young mage Zorian. there's very little romance, unless you are into ancient liches.

don't waste your time reading reviews, just go ahead and dig into the fabulous story.

Cestarian
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It's good but gets boring

Right, I read through a lot of this story elsewhere before I dropped it, and sure enough it was good, for about the first 80 chapters (if memory serves... it might not, it was a chapter or 2 his first serious attempt to close the time loop) I just recall I had read something like 70% of published chapters, by that point the cause of the time loop was figured out, as well as how it is supposed to be stopped, and a couple of other things surrounding it which I won't spoil.

The problem is that by that time the loop itself, as far as storytelling goes, has lost it's purpose, and yet after skipping to the end of all written content just to check if he got out (at the time...) he was still stuck in the loop, very, very far beyond the point where it seemed to have lost meaning. Now I may possibly have jumped the gun a little bit on this... Considering that I was already getting bored as he was trying to figure out how to close the loop by this point.

But the climax point of stories such as this is quite usually the point where the loop ends, and I didn't want to read through over a thousand pages worth of content just waiting for him to get the fuck out of there. There was a very limited number of things he could learn more about within the alotted timeframe too.

It was very clearly a ripe time to get out of the loop a few chapters from the point where I stopped, but this did not happen, I don't know why this did not happen but I suspect that the writer got complacent, and wanted to squeeze every second he could out of the loop before moving on to a point where the stakes in the story would be real.

To it's credit though, the story is well written (exceptionally so for a webnovel) and of high quality, high quality enough even to deserve this #1 spot it's currently holding (sure is a hell of a lot better than 2,3,4 and 5 in my opinion, to such an extent that the others can't even compete)

The story was good enough that even if it's been at least half a year (maybe more) since i read it, I still remember it's most important points, I am confident that I could pick it up where I left it off and keep reading, so the story is quite memorable, especially considering that a lot of the stories I read around here I forget about within a week.

This story is good, maybe even great. But it's not without flaws, and one of these flaws is that certain things get drawn out way beyond their expiration date, but this problem won't become serious until much later in the story.

Skoonting
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Not gonna talk too much about it, but for anyone who hasn't heard about MoL or read it, just know that it's a classic among web novels. I'd highly recommend it if you love some time travel fantasy magical shenanigans 

BuzzKiller101
Overall

SPECTACULAR!!! AMAZING AND I'm d its completed. :(

Reviewed at: Afterword

Extremely recommended. Its one of the best novels out the. The grammar is good and you never get tired of the story.  I finished the book in 2 or 3 day. 

 

Is the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best it's the best 

 

Leveticus
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Holy mother of...

Reviewed at: Afterword

I read a lot of fiction to pass the time.  This is the best damn book I've read in years.  Better by far compared to many of the commercial books I've read through Kindle Unlimited.  Epic in scope but entertaining and engaging enough that I had to force myself to take breaks.  I can't believe this up for free consumption.  

The author really needs to get his butt in gear, do some light editing, and publish his magnum opus!  I actually want to join a Patreon or Kickstarter to help the author out, because this book deserves a broader audience.  It is better than any of the self published works I've read on Amazon, and I would even put it on the level of several well known authors in the fantasy genre.  What really puts it at the top is that it is finished.  I love the The Kingkiller Chronicle series, but have no faith it will ever be finished.

I Just hope the author picks a better cover and ditches the current art.  It doesn't fit the story, giving the impression the book is a kiddie manga or anime.  My recommendation is for something more abstract, like a spell formula diagram, to better reflect the main character and complexity of the story. 

African Horse
Overall

Read it if you've got a bit of time.

Reviewed at: 1. Good Morning Brother

If all the other reviews didn't convince you, then I'll say it again. READ IT!!!!!

It doesn't really compare to the great gods of fantasy like Brando Sando, but it is one of the absolute best webserials.

The strongest point in this story is definitly the setting. It is the only fiction I have ever read or even seen which have managed to pull off time travel. It is such an amazingly original idea.

My only criticism is the characters which can sometimes be a bit flat. However, Xvim is one of the funniest characters I have ever met.

 

CONCLUSION:

READ IT!!!

Night Creeper
Overall

You should definetely read it, the story itself is very good but we also get nice grammar and a pretty deep lore.

Pimelea
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Time loop: the fantasy

Reviewed at: Afterword

Amazing series that I think everyone will love. Not only is it the first major fantasy to use a time loop, it was also executed very well, with years of planning and work to pull this off.

Characters

There was an impressive range of emotions and personalities and so many aspects that brought them to life. I think it's almost impossible to forget Spear of Resolve and the impressive giant spider society or Xvim and his hard-ass tutoring style that we're forced to undergo loop after loop.

Then there's the family. Kirielle was adorable and Damien was a great demonstration of MC's POV vs an actual cool guy and the misfortune and hyperopia of family issues.

There's such an impressive cast and they all have distinct and great personalities.

Still, I am only giving a 4 star, because the characters fall off a bit towards the finish. The loop is not actually taken full advantage of to demonstrate the different possibilities of most characters and there was a lack of follow through on the promise of all the characters when they were introduced.

In other words, the cast was amazing, but the character development was, if still good, not amazing.

There's never any sustained discomfort or conflict between 'friendly' characters. This is always a bad sign in my books. There were a few stern characters, a hard-ass tutor, Alanic, but there was only 1 character that produced tension, Silverlake, and it was all somewhat unemotional.

Of the bad guys, Qatach-ichl was developed pretty decently, but that was it. Maybe the necromancer had some development with his family backdrop?

Red robe seemed really unnaturally stunted, despite being such an important character. He was the dark shadow planted to great effect early on, but we only learn about him all in a rush towards the end and he's a bit of a removed paper mache villain. It was similar with the vampire girl, who I hardly remember.

I also didn't feel the characters had any proper conclusion... Basically, there was such big promise in so many characters introduced, and then they were often left by the wayside, like Rainy or Tinami, for instance

There was no follow through on romance or even really family. Perhaps that was in character? Zorian ultimately remained, in my view, the same as he was before the loop started. A somewhat distant, arrogant kid who wanted to help others and manaaged to get rid of his social anxiety and disdain for his brothers, at least, but didn't actually develop into someone with compassion or even just a single strong relationship. Even his relationship with Kirielle remained somewhat tepid in the end.

... Which means that I'll happily upgrade to a 5 stars if you write a sequel outside the time loop with more on some of our favourite characters and how the personal relations side of the equation pans out!

Story

What's not to like about a magic academy with a magic system that has various subjects and intricacies? I loved the different settings and arcs, whether it was at school, in small town grocers' espionage, the dark forces of the necromancers.

I did feel that the story was getting too ambitious in the third arc though. Instead of sticking to all the great details and developing them further, we were taken for sudden trips to other places, with the OP powers of the MC, which had grown a bit beyond what was teneable for dramatic relationships. I did actually enjoy some of the foreign travels, but that was mostly because we met Damien and his new family, who remained underdeveloped, and because we sort of got to know Neolu better. But the rest was just action sequences with little emotional investment.

The ending was epic and... for me, dull. Other than Silverlake, who added great complexity which I'll leave unspoiled, the rest was just action sequences and this magic trumps that one, with lots of power trips and interventions from great powers... But it really missed all the points I had expected of the early characters, only showing a few of them mostly because of 'charity' of the MC, rather than any investment actual interactions.

So, I can't really say it was a bad ending, but I felt that whereas the first 40-50 chapters were stunning, and couldn't have been done better, the last 1/3rd of the plot was falling off. Then again, for such a momentous undertaking as Mother of Learning, you could also say it's one helluv an impressive job to see this to a real, true ending!

Grammar and style

 There was a lot of planning involved in Mother of Learning that you can see in the measured pacing (that was somewhat wearing thin by the end... but it was a long journey, after all).

The only style problem is the same I've been discussing in terms of characters and conclusion. So going to match the character score there.

Thanks so much for writing Mother of Learning! Fantastic series! And overall gets 5 stars from me!