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.


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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Word Count (16)
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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  • Overall Score

A compelling web fiction for fantasy readers

Reviewed at: Afterword

To begin this is a sufficiently written story with a winding plot and an engaging. It is a substantial commitment to read given sheer page count but the writer delivers consistent quality with enough variety in characters and setting to keep releases relatively fresh.

This is late review. Nonetheless here are some musing.



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 This is very much a novel, not just a story.


I say that because it contains all the elements of a professional book more than most online web series. 

First off, it is well thought out. Everything from the character development to the rules governing the world makes sense and there isn't a sense of overstepping from the author. 

Secondly, it was planned. I presume...The story flows with a clear path and easy to see goals. There aren't fillers.

Lastly, the story feels polished. Like you would expect from a paperback. If that makes any sense at all. 

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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.  

  • Overall Score

Good story, but lack of tension.

Reviewed at: 81. A Civil Conversation

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, often, 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.


Tl;dr: It is a beautiful story full of wonder and possibilities, that somehow manages to become less.

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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.

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Best Character Growth I've Seen

I'm not an exaggeration when I give this story all 5 stars, it's really that good. The over reviews do a good job of telling you how well the time loop mechanic is used, the brilliant plot and the sidestepping of OP character pitfall so I'm just going to mention my favourite thing about this fiction that I have not seen mentioned.

People have already said that the characterization is good, but that does not quite do the story justice. Zorien grows a lot throughout the story and I'd even go so to say that he grows more in character then inability (which is saying a lot). He starts off a bit of an ass. Relatable? yes (especially for RR readers). 


He's anti-social hates his family, has few friends to mention and isn't really all that close to them. His priority is studying and getting away from his family. And he has a brother complex of the inferiority kind. As the story progresses you see him change, his worldview expanded and his relationships depend. He comes to face with his own Biases and really grows as an individual.

The best part is? You actually believe it! Zorian doesn't just change out of nowhere and it all happens gradually; there is no chapter where all of a sudden he's "a new man"

hope this helps :)


  • Overall Score

Pretty good, totally worth a shot

So this is my first review so take anything I say/write with a grain of salt.


So "Mother of learning" is in my opinion a pretty good novel which I like.


Mol has much potential to be one of the best novels on this site (in my opinion at least) and is unique in it take on time travel since I don't know of manny with such story element.

The chapter are all pretty long so one chapter feels to me like three and our protagonist feels like a human being, which goes frome being a a social jackass to a teenager a little bit on the awkward side, so character development is there.

Grammar, well what can I say, my mother language is not English and I am not extremely good at English and I didn't find any misspelling or if I found any those would have been insignificant since I forgot them, so in my opinion pretty good.


And I would everyone recommend to read or to give it a try.

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A very inventive and interesting storyline that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and takes you on a stuff- murder.. Nobody103 does a great job filling in the plot holes created by the intriguing plot line, and the character development is pretty insightful.

I am very tempted to give specific example but, I really don't want to spoil anyone's enjoyment. This story is way to good.  Very few grammar or syntax errors.  It is obvious the amount of time and effort Nobody103 has put into this effort.  One of my new favorite authors, I would compare  the quality Nobody103 with Ruffwriter's ('Savage Divinity').  Dang fine story.

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The novel i enjoyed the most ever. no kidding:)

a must read for everyone, this is bound to be a classic in a few years given how amazing this story has been. We are currently 10-15 chapters from the end and i never got such a blast reading something (and i'm a big reader. I read hundreds of books in my life so i'm not saying it lighly).

the story follow zorian, a teenage mage having some family troubles and kinda self-centered, as he grow through a time looping world where he found himself without knowing anything. We follow his struggles (and struggles there is, holy shit :o) and internal changes while we learn more and more about the people living in this world. This is a page turner, most people starting to read it have a point where there can't stop reading and waste whole weeks of free time just to get their fix. 

If there a novel you must try in your life, this is it. I'm not kidding at all xD

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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.