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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Iscrej
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Good novel but has its own issues

This story can basically be summed up as extremely well written, but ridden with plotholes. For instance there are times when he talks about remaining hidden and not exposing his relation with the spiders, but then blabs about them to other people who the rats can easily pluck information from. Furthermore, he seems a bit unwilling to use his time loop to its max ability for example ritual sacrifice to learn soul magic. After all after the reset the people will be back, but his magic won't disappear.

Overall, while it's one of the best written novrls out there the plotholes are rather infuriating

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.

Blue09
  • Overall Score

Just have to give this review as my ultimate gratitude.

Reviewed at: 106. I Win (III)

Ive read this story for years on fictionpress. Most authors do not preserve writing their story. Not for... almost a decade? O_o

I do not know why, but this story was actually always my favorit. Maybe because the MC is not super overpowerd and has to mostly rely on solving his problems more with wit than just power through. Maybe because he had to strugle so hard to get where he ended. Maybe because of the awe inspiring world building. Or maybe because the long years that ive looked forward to the next chapter release.

Most likely, because all of these ressons.

Alas, all good things have to end. I dont realy think there will be a sequel. Its possible, the month is over, so zorians advantures AFTER the month could be written - but then, would it be like MoL? Its propably the sentimental attachement i have to this story and the knowledge that only the epilog is missing before the story ends that makes me wish it would go on forever and ever. Parting is such bittersweet... >_<

Dear Nobody103, i thank you for all these years and this great story. Thank alot man, my best wishes to you and your future endevors. =)) So 5 stars. No other rating i can give you can show you what this story meant to me.

 

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Monsoon117
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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.

Delcer
  • Overall Score

The Premier Timeloop Story

Reviewed at: Afterword

This is the timeloop story that all other ones aspire to be. It has an interesting set of colourful characters, excellent worldbuilding, an amazing magic system. It's not perfect, there are still problems such as characters not getting properly expanded upon, but still a wonderful story.

SiliconWolf
  • Overall Score

Only 2 major problems I see

Reviewed at: Afterword

1. Your cover art looks like it belongs to a children's book.  As an alternate design, I suggest the timeline symbol on a mottled-black background with randomly placed eyes of different animals.

2. Your first few chapters are kind of boring.  I wasn't immediately hooked.

To say my two problems a different way: I skipped past this book several times because the cover art was unappealing.  And then when I finally gave it a try, I nearly quit after the second chapter because I wasn't hooked.

Ignoring these two problems, the rest of the book is fantastic!  Thank you so much for writing this!

Scott Fenton
  • Overall Score

Not really much to say. It is probably the best web novel ever written. It is so good that it makes it diffcult to read other time-loop stories. 

Marcos The Gray
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If you like epic fantasy that revolve around mystery and epic fights this is a novel for you. 

Vaga
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Why is it must-read?!

Reviewed at: Afterword

Starting to read "Mother of learning", i didn't expect such a story. Even if the description might seem not so excited, you will seriously undermine your opinion after just a few chapters. This book is the combination of "King of the rings" atmosphere, "Sherlock Holmes" logic and unexpected twists.

Story score is certainly 5 out of 5. All the moves and decisions made by main characters are clear and, however, very creative and unusual. And it is hard to guess anything - the plot has many secrets which the author reveals with thorough logic chain and explanation during the whole story.( A bit hard to prove without spoilers, but you will get easily).

Style score deserves a solid 5. The main reason is the magic and its creating process. Throughout the protagonist's magic development,  you understand the nature of magic, and it is shown not as something unreal, but as daily used. This feature helps to realise the power of characters and fairly explains the skills improvement of mags. In my opinion, it is one of the best advantages of "Mother of learning" - i didn't see any of credible magic mechanisms, even in the world classic books.

The next feature is low amount of description of the landscape, nature and setting at all. The best option for people who like many plot twists and non-stop story unfold. However, there are problems with characters' diversity (way of speaking, unusual habits etc.), some secondary plot lines - almost no conflicts or romans (of course, it is not the direction of the author's style, but a wider range of relationships will certainly make the sense of completed story and distract a reader from main points - in good regards). So, "Mother of learning" gets fair 4 stars for the feeling of a lack of diversity.

Overall, if you like fantasy worlds, logic decisions and plot twists (and do not like the system of levels) - it is ideal book for reading.

Hope you guys like it!