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Author of "Mother of Learning".

Slow Burn

As the weeks went by, Zorian became increasingly bored with Mind Like Fire’slessons. While they continued to pay results in terms of his increasing mentalcombat proficiency, they were also very repetitive and had increasinglymarginal results. It didn’t help that his mental defenses were by now too goodto be casually collapsed by his teacher, which meant that he


Lighting the Fuse

On the surface, getting saddled with Novelty seemed like a recipe for endlessfrustration and annoyance – she was an impatient, impulsive chatterbox thatseemed to have no concept of personal space, always hovering uncomfortablynear him and poking him with her front legs. Zorian was not afraid of spiders,but that kind of close physical contact was just too


Unreasonable Things

He didn’t bring the papers to his room, of course. He was confident that therewas no tracking spell on anything in the stack, but he was also confident thatVazen would try to divine the location of the papers the hard way once henoticed the theft. He might even succeed, in which case Zorian didn’t wantthem to be near anything that would automatically i



Standing still in the empty living room inside Vazen’s house, Zorian staredunhappily at the splatter of green gunk in front of him that was currentlyeating through the floor with an audible sizzle. One could hardly tell that,not too long ago, the acid slime in front of him used to be a stack ofimportant documents stored in Vazen’s safe. The merchant really didn


Smoke and Mirrors

Zorian would be the first to admit he wasn’t the easiest person to get alongwith. He was unsociable, irritable, and tended to assume the worst of people.He had always known that, even before he had died and gotten stuck in amysterious time loop, but he had also always felt he was justified in hisbehavior. Indeed, if anyone had been foolish enough to crit


Mistakes Have Been Made

‘The beginning of the restart is always the most annoying part of the timeloop,’ Zorian mused quietly, standing on one of the arrival platforms inCirin’s train station. He pulled a watch out of his pocket and inspected itfor a minute before putting it back with a sigh. The train was late. The trainwas always late, because this was less than a day



Despite Alanic’s proclamation that he was going to interrogate the prisoner,he did not immediately descend into the temple dungeon. Instead he startedrummaging through a nearby cabinet full of potion bottles while Zorian slowlyabsorbed today’s newest revelations, opting to remain in the room for themoment. He was not in the mood for answering questions that L



Zorian stared at the grinning face of his opponent, his own face a blank,expressionless mask. This was it. This last round would decide who the victorwas, no question about it. His opponent thought he had Zorian backed into acorner, but Zorian had a secret weapon – he had already peered into the man’sthoughts and knew that he had already won.

The rules of the card


A Game of Shops

“I want you to help me rob my rival.”

Zorian blinked in surprise before giving the man an incredulous look. What?

“And… why the hell would I do that?” he asked the man curiously.

Gurey grinned triumphantly. “I knew I was right about you,” he said. “Youdidn’t even pretend to be outraged at the question.”

Zorian frowned. “I’m just not a very excitable perso


The Hunter and the Hunted

Considering the reputation the Great Northern Forest had among people livingin more southern, civilized territories, one would expect the place to be agiant death trap, with every animal and a good portion of the plants trying tokill you at every turn. The truth, Zorian had found, was a little morecomplex. While yes, the forest was full of danger



‘Life takes you to all sorts of unexpected places,’ Zorian mused, once againtaking the knife to the winter wolf’s corpse. ‘If someone had told me, back inmy first year at the academy, that I would need to know what the best way toskin a winter wolf was, I would not have believed them.’

Then again, he technically didn’t need to skin the animal – he just felt itwo


Cast Adrift

Zorian’s eyes abruptly shot open as a sharp pain erupted from his stomach. Hiswhole body convulsed, buckling against the object that fell on him, andsuddenly he was wide awake, not a trace of drowsiness in his mind.

“Good morning, brother!” an annoyingly cheerful voice sounded right on top ofhim. “Morning, morning, MORNING!”

Relief immediately flooded his m



The temple was just as imposing as it had been the last time Zorian hadvisited it – the same guardian angels glaring down at him, the same desertedfeel to the building and the same creation story carved into the heavy woodendoors. This time he studied the carvings on the door with more interest thanhe had done the last time, however, since some of the images were


The Unexpected

Zorian stared at the stone disc in his hand in silent contemplation. It wasdone. Zach finally knew he wasn’t alone in the time loop. True, the other boydidn’t know about Zorian being one of the time travelers – the matriarch hadpresented herself as the time traveler and made no mention of Zorian – but itwas only a matter of time now. There was no way that Z


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