Pondathon: Prologue – We Need You and Your Magic; Choose a Team! [Readathon Team Information]

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

New to the Pondathon’s story?
Read this prologue first
or read the previous chapter.

The word ‘battle’ hangs heavy over the Pond. You have never known the Pond to be a place of conflict or struggle and you didn’t think – still don’t think – that your Pond friends would ever hurt even the most annoying fly. Xiaolong would probably try and make friends with it.

You get the feeling that the other Pond friends feel the same – you can see it in the way their shoulders slump, how their eyes fall.

Xiaolong the axolotl, with her hand on Gen's shell, who has a sad and worried expression.Xiaolong notices, and gives all her friends a sad smile. “I know friends,” she says. “I don’t want to fight either. But these forest sprites came here because they knew we would help them, and that’s what we are going to do: protect them.” She walks over to Gen, and places a gentle hand on his shell. “I know some of you don’t want to fight, and I understand. I won’t make you. But we all have our strengths, so we’re going to use them to the best of our ability to help people in their time of need.”

“I can’t fight, Xiaolong,” whispers Gen. “But I am the Tortoise Apothecarist, so I will help by making potions and make sure that the people who can fight, can.”

“Xiaolong, I know you will fight,” says Varian, who places a hand on Xiaolong’s shoulder. “So while you fight, I’ll ensure that the boundary is strong to prevent whatever is coming for us from coming in.”

“Then I’ll be our eyes and ears!” chirps Sprout, hopping atop Gen’s shell. “The forest sprites have told me that they’re working together with the trees to defend the weaker parts of the boundary as well. I’ll go commune with them so we can strategise and fight more effectively together. If we can strengthen the forest around us, it will fight for us too!”

“And someone needs to take care of the people we are protecting!” says Cuddle, resolute. “Party and I will make sure that the sprites who come to the Pond will be looked after.”

Xiaolong looks all of her friends. She is tearing up again, but it’s not from fear this time; it’s from hope and the gratitude she feels for her friends.

Finally, she turns and looks up to you. “Friend, this isn’t your fight and I will not hold it against you if you don’t want to. But if you want to help us protect this place and the forest, then we would be honoured to fight and protect alongside you.”

Read the next chapter →


Friends of the Pond!

Whatever you wield – a sword, a bow, a staff, or the hope and love in your heart – the Pond friends and the forest need you.

Why join a team?

To participate in the Pondathon readathon, you must join a team led by one of the Pond friends.

Different teams have different ways to collect points and different bonuses, so be sure to choose carefully! Once the Pondathon starts on January 24th, please do not change your team until February 9th. From February 9th to February 14th, you will be able to change your team. After February 14th, you will not be able to change your team until the end of the Pondathon.


Team Information

Team Xiaolong. Image of Xiaolong the pink axolotl, wielding her staff, and doing a jump attack.

Team Xiaolong

Join Xiaolong, Keeper of the Pond, at the front lines! Use reading-magic to help fight off the forces of evil to protect our friends. They are depending on us!

Progression: No tricks or gimmicks! Join Team Xiaolong and gain points by reading – it’s as simple as that! For every 10 pages/15 minutes (of the total time on the audiobook) that you read, you gain 1 point.

Xiaolong team bonus: For every book you finish, Xiaolong’s team fights with more spirit and hope. Give yourself an extra 15 points!

Example of how it works:

  • Day 1: if you read 46 pages and submit your progress, you get 4 points that day. Total = 4.
  • Day 2: if you listen to 127 minutes on an audiobook and submit your progress, you get 8 points that day. Total = 12.
  • Day 3: if you read 24 pages but forgot to record your progress, you get 0 points that day. Total = 12.
  • Day 4: if you listen to 72 minutes on an audiobook and submit Day 3 (2 points) and Day 4’s (4 points) progress, you get 6 points that day. Total = 18.
  • Day 5: if you read 73 pages (7 points), finish the book (15 points), and submit your progress, you get 22 points that day. Total = 40


Team Varian. Image of Varian the Toad, holding a golden orb of light, and three shields around them.

Team Varian

Evil forces are trying to enter the Pond! Help Varian the Toadshifter protect the Pond and the forest sprites who have taken refuge in the Pond by reading books to sustain the Pond’s protective shield.

Progression: To cast powerful shield-magic, you need a wide range of knowledge! Read a book that is a different genre to the last book you read and gain 35 points each time you finish a book.

Varian team bonus: Every time you read three books of a different genre, Varian will feel your magic intertwine with theirs and the Pond’s shield will grow stronger. Give yourself an extra 20 points!

Example of how it works:

  • Day 2: you read and finished a contemporary book. To start, you gain 35 points that day. Total = 35 points.
  • Day 3: you have started reading a science-fiction book but haven’t finished it that day. Total = 35 points.
  • Day 7: you have finished a science-fiction book and gain 35 points that day. Total = 70 points.
  • Day 14: you have finished a fantasy book and gain 35 points that day. You also receive a Varian team bonus for chain-reading three books of different genres! You gain an addition 20 points. Total = 125 points.

Team Gen

Team Gen. Image of Gen the Tortoise in front of potions and next to a wooden box full of potions.

Help our friends at the Pond keep up their strength! Assist Gen the Tortoise Apothecarist in making healing potions for our friends who are protecting the Pond.

Progression: Gen helps others better in the backlines and is amazing at providing support! Join Team Gen and read backlist books (books published before December 31st 2018) and for every backlist book that you read, you gain 30 points.

Gen team bonus: For every backlist book that you finish with under 3000 ratings on Goodreads, Gen feels like his work has an impact and is meaningful. Give yourself an extra 10 points!

Example of how it works:

  • Day 3: you finish a book published in 2016 (+30 points) and has 5029 ratings on Goodreads. Total = 30 points.
  • Day 7: you finish a book published in 2017 (+30 points) and has 213 ratings on Goodreads (+10 points). Total = 70 points.

Team Sprout

Team Sprout. Image of Sprout the Sparrow, gesturing to the right with one wing and the other wing folded against their body.

Harness Sprout’s druid and nature powers to help your friends strategise and find their way in the thick of battle. Assist Sprout the Lorekeeper as they listen to the trees. Become their messenger!

Progression: Your fellow Pond friends are counting on you to direct them through the chaos of the battlefield! To aid Sprout in communing with the plantlife and forest sprites, feature a diverse book* on your book blog or bookstagram or booktube, talk about why you love it, and recommend it to others to earn 6 points!

Sprout team bonus: For every one blog post or bookstagram post or booktube video where you recommend at least four diverse books, the spirit of the forest comes alive and imbues the Pond friends temporarily with nature magic, allowing them to fight with more cohesion and spirit. Give yourself 25 points!

Example of how it works:

  • Day 1: you feature one diverse book on your book blog/bookstagram/booktube and gain 6 points. Total = 6 points.
  • Day 4: you feature a non-diverse book. You do not gain any points. Total = 6 points.
  • Day 6: you feature the same diverse book you featured in Day 1. You do not gain any points. Total = 6 points.
  • Day 8: you recommend and feature four diverse books. You gain 25 points. Total = 31 points.

Team Cuddle. Image of Cuddle the otter, wearing a purple pajama hat, holding onto two blankets and balancing bowls of soup in one arm.

Team Cuddle

Join Cuddle and help keep up morale in the Pond! The battle is fierce and our friends are weary, so help Cuddle cast heart-magic, pass around blankets and hot soup, give hugs (if they need it), and encouraging high-fives!

Progression: Heart-magic is powerful and potent magic. To cast it effectively, you need to combine your powers with a friend! Grab a buddy-reading companion who has joined the Pondathon, join Cuddle’s team, and buddy-read to earn 35 points every time you finish a book!

Cuddle’s team bonus: Your buddy-read friend doesn’t have to join Cuddle’s team for you to collect points, but if the both of you sign-up and join Cuddle’s team, you gain 45 points each when you finish a book together!

Caveat: If you join Cuddle’s team and finish a book during the readathon but (1) did not buddy-read the book with your friend AND/OR (2) your buddy-read companion has not signed up for Pondathon, the heart-magic will not be as effective and you will only gain 10 points. Plus, your friend will feel your residual magic and gain 5 points.

Example of how it works:

  • Day 4: you join Cuddle’s team and finish buddy reading a book with a friend, but they have not joined a team/not signed-up for Pondathon yet. You gain 10 points. Total (you) = 10 points.
  • Day 10: your friend finally signs up and joins Cuddle’s team, and you both finish a book together. You gain 45 points each. Total (you) = 55 points. Total (your friend) = 45 points.
  • Day 16: you finish a book, but did not buddy-read it with your friend. You gain 10 points and your friend gains 5 points. Total (you) = 65 points. Total (your friend) = 50 points.
  • Day 18: your friend finishes a book that you did not buddy-read together. You gain 5 points and your friend gains 10 points. Total (you) = 70 points. Total (your friend) = 60 points.

So which team are you going to join? Are you #TeamXiaolong, #TeamCuddle, #TeamSprout, #TeamVarian or #TeamGen? Whichever team you join – you’re awesome! The Pond friends are so happy to have you on their team.

Not too sure what team you want to join? That’s okay! Official sign-ups and character creation resources for the Pondathon will be available in two days, so make sure you return to the Pond to sign-up for real!

26 thoughts on “Pondathon: Prologue – We Need You and Your Magic; Choose a Team! [Readathon Team Information]

  1. I love, love, love all teams but I’ll go with #TeamXiaolong!! ^^ Reading backlist books or change genre wouldn’t be a *big* problem, BUT since I’ll spend most of the time of the Pondathon studying, I usually always go back to what I know I’ll enjoy … And because of my limited free time, reading with a friend and blogging consistently is a risky move. I’ll do my best to help Xiaolong!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so torn! They all sound so fantastic. I’m debating between #TeamXiaolong & #TeamSprout. Team Sprout would be more of a challenge but reading fast or at least consistently is my best strength so maybe Xiaolong’s team would be more effective

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you so much for organizing this! I can imagine this took so much effort ❤ I'm so excited to take part in this adventure! The reading challenges this year are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, the teams are all so cool! I am torn between joining Team Xiaolong or Team Varian, but I have a bit of time to decide thankfully. I know for me and my reading, “forcing” myself to genre-hop will help avoid genre burnout and slumps, so it may be the better choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah I teared up reading this chapter, maybe I’m just more emotional than normal today, I can’t wait for this readathon to start. I think I’m going with Team Gen because I am usually reading backlist titles, genre hopping sounds nice but sometimes I want to read contemporaries back to back and other times I’m reading urban fantasy back to back so that probably wouldn’t be the best team for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so invested in the Pond’s story, it has me all emotional – I just want to protect all the pond friends! 😭💕 I love that there are so many different teams with cool ways to gain points. Personally, I’ll be joining Xiaolong in the fight on the frontlines 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CW, you are a *wizard*, and I’m so effing hyped for this readathon! I’m in awe of how well-planned it is 😭 And it was a tough choice, but I’m gonna have to go with Team Gen, because lord knows that I need to start prioritizing backlist books in 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] fun participating in the Pondathon readathon by joining one of five teams, each with a unique way to collect points and signing up! You can also follow the story of the Pondathon as it unfolds, and participants can […]

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