The Theriad is an epic story from the plane of Theros that tells the tale of an unknown number of "Champions" and their eventual rise to be a Champion of the Sun. Excerpts from the Theriad are related through flavor text on vanilla cards throughout the Theros block. Additional excerpts are found on cards in the Theros Beyond Death expansion set.
There are fifteen excerpts in total from the Theros block. There is at least one extra excerpt in Theros Beyond Death. These are arranged in an estimated chronological order.
|It was in fields of grain, not fields of battle, that the Champion learned to bear the yoke of duty to the gods. She worked the land long before she was called on to defend it.||Yoked Ox|
|The girl who would become the Champion of the Sun hacked furiously at the practice dummy. At last she stopped, breathing heavily, and looked up at her instructor.
"So much anger," said the centaur. "I will teach you the ways of war, child. But first you must make peace with yourself."
|"Poets speak of your unrivaled speed," the Champion said to the assembled centaurs, "but it is plain to see that your true strength lies in your unwavering loyalty to one another."||Pheres-Band Centaurs|
|After the Battle of Pharagax Bridge, the Champion spent many months among the leonin of Oreskos. She found that they were quick to take offense, not because they were thin-skinned, but because they were always eager for a fight.||Oreskos Swiftclaw|
|On the fourth day they passed through a forest of immense stacked stones. Althemone, youngest of the companions, called these pillars the work of a god, but the Champion knew better. She quickened her pace.||Silent Artisan|
|Khestes the Adamant, the Champion's closest ally among the centaurs, took one stone to his shoulder and another to his flank. He held his stride and his aim, and let fly the arrow that killed the giant Grinthax.||Nessian Courser|
|The Champion armed herself to face the cyclops, heedless of her companions' despair.
"How will you defeat it with only one spear?" asked young Althemone.
The Champion raised her weapon. "It has but one eye."
|Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass|
|The Champion and the philosopher Olexa returned from the opposing camp at dusk. Behind them, the enemy raised sail and departed, breaking the siege. When asked what the two had done, the Champion replied, "We spoke to them."||Traveling Philosopher|
|The Champion and her companions marched through the night, but the battle was over before they arrived. In the middle of the carnage sat a solitary minotaur, lost in what seemed to the Champion to be thought.||Pensive Minotaur|
|With spear held high, the Champion came to meet Thyrogog of the Ashlands, who wore the old king's skin as a cloak and fed on the flesh of innocents. The foul minotaur raised the great axe called Goremaster and charged.||Felhide Minotaur|
|You have led us to triumph over the forces of Mogis!" said Brygus the Brave, clapping the Champion on the back.
The Champion wiped the sweat and blood from her brow.
"I count eight graves," she said. "Too many to call this a victory."
|At sunrise, the Champion and her companions awoke to find their supplies gone and Brygus, their sentry, dead. Carefully arranged piles of ornamental shells gave a clear warning: go no further.||Triton Shorethief|
|The hulk rose from the sea and loomed over the Champion. Pinned beneath the twisting, rotted planks of wood was the body of Kaliaros, the helmsman of her former crew, and beside him the captain, Photine.||Rotted Hulk|
|The Champion stood alone between the horde of the Returned and the shrine to Karametra, cutting down scores among hundreds. She would have been overcome if not for the aid of the temple guardians whom Karametra awakened.||Bronze Sable|
|The great hart stood like a statue, its hide painted gold by the dawn. The Champion laid down her weapons and stepped forward within an arm's length of the beast. The hart, sacred to Heliod and bathed in the god's own light, bowed to the Champion, marking her as the Chosen of the Sun God.||Great Hart|
|The Champion reached for a stone, and Heliod placed the sun into her hand.||Banishing Light (Theros Beyond Death)|
The Champion of the Sun
- Kelly Digges revealed that the Champion isn't one person, but rather a title given to someone chosen by the sun — by Heliod himself.
- One of the Champions was female, fought with a single spear, and lived on Theros from at least a young age.
- One of the Champions was part of a boat crew with Kaliaros, the helmsman, and Photine her captain.
- Althemone and Brygus the brave were among her companions during one of the Champion's travels.
- Kytheon Iora became the Champion of the Sun when he received Heliod's spear to battle Erebos's Titan.
- Elspeth Tirel became the Champion of the Sun when she took up Godsend to kill Xenagos, and her representation on the card Elspeth, Sun's Champion.
The Theriad shares a similar name and structure to the epic poem The Iliad, written by Homer near the end of the 8th century BC.