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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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.

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First off, go read this story if you haven't. It's really, really good. Now for the review.

Mother of Learning is a story revolving around a bitter and resentful teen named Zorian Kavinski. Through insane circumstances, he ends up in a time loop, repeating the same month over and over again. Throughout each rendition, he retains his memories, builds his skills, and becomes a force to reckon with. There's many foes he has to overcome however, most of them far more powerful then him. Zorian must scrap together every bit of his resourcefullness if he is to win, otherwise his entire world will collapse around him.

So I'll be rating the review on three of my own catagories. Characters, Plot, and World-building. These elements, when used well, integrate into a seamless story that takes you away. Mother of Learning does this in spades.

Characters: This is one of the novels greatest strengths. The characters are varied, different, and have a variety of motivations behind their actions. There are genuine conflicts that arise as well, and watching the sheer depth of their mental battles is something to behold. None of the characters are cliches either. They have a genuine presence that's hard to ignore, and they each act independently of the others.

I couldn't praise the main character Zorian enough, in fact. He is mediocre in many respects. The few talents he does have are far exceeded by his older brother Damien. Despite not being gifted with a spring of talent, Zorian was gifted with ingenuity and genuine intelligence. He uses tricks, clever plots, and plans that caught me off guard on numerous occasions with how well thought out they are. He has flaws, such as his immaturity and resentment of those who are better of him. At the time, this only enhances his likeability and relatableness.

Other characters share that trait. They all have flaws, and each of them makes simple mistakes. It's not done in a plot-hole kind of way either. 

Now that isn't to say my praise is endless. Quite a few times while reading, the 'voices' of the character's dialogue bleed together. This is because the author enjoys unloading tremendous amounts of relevant information about his world to the reader. At the same time, it doesn't make sense that nearly every character that describes something to Zorian does so in a complete, holistic pattern that covers everything interesting about a topic.

This isn't a crippling problem, and it adds to many aspects of the novel. At the same time, I felt it was worth noting.

Plot: The plot of the novel is airtight. It's so devoid of plot-holes that it's incredible to behold, especially for a story as fantastical and long as this. It's so hard to do that, especially as the concepts and stakes of the novel rise up higher and higher. The author accomplishes this through the use of his detailed world-building and historical integration. Allow me to explain.

The detailed world-building is so thorough and encompassing, that you're left with very few questions. Every curiosity about various in word mechanics are satisfied to the utmost, giving a near flawless understanding of the world at hand. This adds amazing depth to the plot and characters since it gives so much context to their actions and motivations. Indeed, this is one of the biggest reasons the characters are so well developed. 

This is where historical integration comes in. By weaving the history of the world into the bckground of the characters, we get added depth to them. For example, there was an event known as the weeping. It was a plague that swept across the nation several years ago, and the author ties several characters backstories to this event. That's great use of his narrative tools.

These elements create iron-clad motivations for all the characters and events of the story. This foundation is what everything is propped up on, and it's more solid than stone.

World-Building: By and large, this is the biggest draw of this novel. I've never read a novel so utterly fullproof from a world standpoint. Hell, at times I felt I understand this fantasy world better than the real world with how excellent the descriptions are. The author obviously understands many subjects in real life, and he uses those to flesh out many of the more airy concepts in this novel.

What feels hollow in most novels becomes something reliable and understandable here. For example, there's soul magic done in this novel. Soul magic is notorious for injecting total bullshit into a story and offering dues ex machinas in plots. Not in this story. It's a reliable mechanic I felt the entire story could have revolved around. That applies to at least a dozen other fields of magic.

The history of the world, as mentioned earlier, is also bulletproof. The author must have plotted out at least a thousand+ years of history in order to scope out the events of this novel. Every piece of it is relevant to the plot, and that is so damn hard to do in any novel, let alone one with so much backstory to draw from.

Overall: This story's amazing. It's breathtakingly professional, and it's just something you should support on Patreon. I know I do.

Qualms: As you may imagine, I have few problems with this story, but there exists a few elements that I felt could be done better. For starters, the action scenes in this story are told like a recap of the actual fight. This is a real shame, because the fights themselves are vibrant displays of the author's creativity. It just lacks a real punch in a lot of scenarios because it feels distant due to how the events are 'told' rather than 'shown.'

Another slight I have with the story involves the 'voice' of the characters at times. I touched on this point earlier, but sometimes characters offer up explanations that don't flow well in a conversation. They'll over elaborate to an extreme at times, and this can be somewhat jarring. It's also worth noting that while the characters themselves are exceptionally well made, some of the characters just fell short of my expectations.

Spoiler: Spoiler

There yah have it. From one author to another, I must say this is damn fine work that you should be proud of. Publish this please, and go become a professional author. With talent like this, it would be a crying shame if you didn't finish some of the other novels you might have an idea for.

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One of the best BOOKS I've ever read.

This story, for me, ranks among my top 20 best books of all time list. Not webnovels, books. The fact that it's free and has 100+ chapters that everyone can access is one of the incredible things in this world that you aren't likely to see again. Read it. You won't regret it.

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Mother of Learning has been online for 5+ years; it is a monthly serial that has incited wonder, awe and anxiety in its readers, and a journey that is only now starting to come to a close. 

Along with Worm, this web serial has captivated the hearts of an online audience since the inception of the online medium. An intriging Ground-Hog Day, Time-looping, premise that evolves to a murder mysterey, and an epic fantasy tale of the nature of existence, the soul and how human ingenuity can overcome any problem - given time.

I recommend this as a great web-novel for those starting down the online rabbit-hole of web-fiction. The characters build and feel truly fleshed out. The grammar is superb, having migrated that over from Fictionpress. The story's plot hook and style are brilliant in concept; amalgamating much of what people desire in high fantasy and urban settings. 

Please, by all means, give it a read.

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All of My Favorite Elements

Reviewed at: 96. Contract

This is very subjective, but the story has my favorite themes: time loop, high fantasy, the character gaining strength over time, and much more. It is quite literally my favorite story I've ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering reading it.

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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 

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How To Start Reading This Story

Step 1: Press Follow

Step 2: Press Favorite

Step 3 (optional): Contact work, school, friends, family, etc. Inform you will be taking a leave of absence/ Do Not Disturb for the forseeable future.

Step 4: Click on Good Morning Brother, Ch. 1

Step 5: Read content to end

Step 6: Press Next Chapter

Step 7: Repeat Step 5 and 6 until unable.

Step 8: Navigate to 

Step 9: Select subsequent chapter from dropdown list.

Step 10: Read content to end

Step 11: Press Next Chapter

Step 12: Repeat Step 10 and 11 until unable.

Step 13: Resume normal daily life while obsessively checking for updates.

Been reading the monthly releases for a long time, excited to see it here, maybe converse with the author. Only hope it doesn't slow down release Ch. 91 is a massive plot shift.

Honudes Gai
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Lets talk about what I didnt like.

Since every reveiw talks about all the best things, I thought I would just mention the problems I had with it.


The author has a lot of problems seprating Zorian/Author knowledge from the other characters, it would seem characters suddenly know what they previously did not, just because the author doesnt want to spend time rehashing the scence again. Kind of a problem with a Ground hog story.


similar to the above, characters will almost complelty abandon their devloped personiailties to talk and act the same way Zorian will honesly seem like Zorian is just confirming things he already knows with himself, the problem being he is talking to one of the other major characters. Sometimes they arent even aware of the time loop when they are doing their best(unitended) Zorian impression.


Both of these problems seem to me like a author trying to rush parts out. Chapters 88-91 just confirm that, feeling like an author who has gotten tired of  his own story.


I still compeltly recommend reading it, because you will find few stories as good as this in the online novel genre.

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one of my favorites

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.

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The only downside of this entire story is its slow release pace. Amazing characterization, grammar is unimpeachable, the story and world are well thought out, and the style sucks you in constantly wanting more.