Pondathon: New Side Quest Available – Varian’s Guilt

Pondathon: Readathon side-quest available!

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

As the battle of the Pond continues, the Pond friends are now separated.

Half of the friends now face the rising sun, the light of dawn casting long shadows across the Pond and the Pond friends have to work twice as hard to ward off the darkness’s reach. The other half face the setting sun and the dread of the coming night when the darkness’s power grows.

Varian sits at the centre of the Pond, surrounded by friends well-versed in the arcane arts of shield- and protection-magic. Day in and day out, Varian casts shield-magic, reaching with their mind to repair the damage to the Pond’s magical boundary.

When the darkness began to retreat, Varian was at the center of the celebration. They were among friends who congratulated and cheered with each other, who fell to their knees from joy and exhaustion. When people started shouting ‘We won! We won!’, Varian’s first instinct was to not believe it, to refuse to believe it. For all their knowledge on the art of war and battle, Varian knew that victory did not come so easily.

But, the tide of joy and relief was irresistible, welcomed.

Varian the toad, his arms held up in front of him, with sweat on their face. They have a slight smile with tired eyes. Varian was exhausted. Varian had been casting magic day in and day out. Varian dared to hope that they had won – and, for a moment, allowed themself to feel the smallest ray of hope.

And as a smile began to dawn on Varian’s weary face, they loosened their hold on the boundary for a second.

That was when the boundary shattered.

You are about to return to your task when you get a feeling – you should check on Varian. From your frequent chats about magic with them over a cup of tea, you also know that they take their responsibilities seriously and that they have a tendency to be hard on themself.

When you find Varian, they’re by the Pond, working with other Pond friends to uphold the magical boundary. You may not have a spell that can read minds or feel what someone is feeling, but you can tell from their downcast eyes, their slumped shoulders, and how they are avoiding eye contact that they don’t feel good.

When you call out to Varian, it shakes them from their stupor. They hop over to you, though they seem to do so reluctantly.

You ask how they are doing. They are slow to respond.

Varian the toad with both their hands over their chest, eyes downcast with a sad expression.“I feel a sharpness in my chest,” they say slowly. Upon hearing this, you quickly lean over to check your friend for wounds. “No friend!” they chuckle. You get the feeling they haven’t laughed in a long time. “I feel… guilt.”

You ask them why, though you have a feeling you know the answer.

“When I hear the sounds of battle…” Their eyes scrunch shut. “I can’t help but believe my friends are crying out in pain or fear and are hurt because of my doing. Because of my moment of weakness.” They shake their head, their hand a tight and shaking fist. “I let go of the magic – for a second. It’s my fault that my friends need to continue fighting. It’s my fault.”

You’ve received a quest!

Varian blames themself for the boundary shattering. They don’t know it yet, but they need a friend right now.

Quest expires on: 19th February 2020, 9:00PM NZT [?]


  • Varian Quest Reward Item. Read 10 pages to gain 2 points – and you spend time with Varian to make sure that they are okay. [Repeatable]
  • Read 30 pages to gain 5 points – and you encourage Varian to talk about their feelings and offer unconditional positive regard to Varian.
  • Read 30 pages to gain 5 points – and you console Varian and assure them that it isn’t their fault.
  • Read 30 pages to gain 5 points – and you offer to keep them company for awhile and help them with their shield-magic.
  • Bonus: Talk about a book or post a picture of a book on social media using the #Pondathon hashtag that helped you get through a tough time in your life to earn the quest reward item: A Moment of Your Time!


Having trouble completing the form? Complete it here.

4 thoughts on “Pondathon: New Side Quest Available – Varian’s Guilt

  1. Hey! I have some questions. I already asked them, but I don’t know if y’all saw that.
    I’m thinking of participating in this, but I was wondering if y’all would count books that I’ve already read within the month of February? Like I started them within the Pondathon time period, but I just didn’t know about your blog at the time. I’m just a little curious.


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