“Some whys, if you follow them far enough, lead over the rim of reality,” replied the silver one. “I have sought knowledge beyond the dreams of ordinary men; I have ventured far into the darkness that encirles mind and stars. But now, midmost of the pitchy windings of that fearsome labyrinth, I find myself suddenly at my skein's end. The tyrant powers who ignorantly guard the secret of the universe without knowing what it is, have scented me. Those vile wardens of whom Ningauble is the merest agent and even Ormadz a cloudy symbol, have laid their traps and built their barricades. And my best torches have snuffed out, or proved too flickery-feeble. I need new avenues of knowledge.”

He turned upon them eyes that seemed to be changing to twin holes in a curtain. “There is something in the inmost core of you, something that you, or others before you, have close-guarded down the ages. Something that lets you laugh in a way that only the Elder Gods ever laughed. Something that makes you see a kind of jest in horror and disillusionment and death. There is much wisdom to be gained by the unravelling of that something.”

– Fritz Leiber, ‘Adept's Gambit’, Swords in the Mist