"In short, Mort was one of those people who are more dangerous than a bag full of
rattlesnakes. He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe.
Which was going to be hard, because there wasnīt one. The Creator had a lot of remarkably good ideas when he put the world together, but making it understandable hadnīt been one of them."
"Practically anything can go faster than Disc light, which is lazy and tame, unlike ordinary light. The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you canīt have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles - kingons, or possibly queons - that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expounded because, at that point, the bar closed."
"`Father said the shop was famous for its budget clothing,ī said Mort, running to keep up.
IT CERTAINLY ADDS A NEW TERROR TO POVERTY."
- Mort and Death
"Mort stared down at his fried eggs. They stared back from their lake of fat. Albert had heard of nutritional values, and didnīt hold with them."
"After a while he got into the rhythm of it, and started playing the privet little
quantity-surveying game that everyone plays in these circumstances. Letīs see, he thought,
Iīve done nearly a quater, letīs call it a third, so when Iīve done that corner by the
hayrack itīll be more than half, call it five-eights, which means three more wheelbarrow
It doesnīt prove anything very much except that the awesome splendour of the universe
is much easier to deal with if you think of it as a series of small chunks."
- Mort, cleaning the stable
"Deathīs garden was big, neat and well-tended. It was also very, very black. The grass was
black. The flowers were black. Black apples gleamed among the black leaves of a black apple
tree. Even the air looked inky.
After a while Mort thought he could see - no, he couldnīt possibly imagine he could see ... different colours of black.
Thatīs to say, not simply very dark tones of red and green and whatever, but real shades of black. A whole spectrum of colours, all different and all - well, black."
"This part of Ankh-Morpork was known as The Shades, an inner-city area sorely in need either of governmental help or, for preference, a flamethrower."
"And so Mort came at last to the river Ankh, greatest of rivers. Even before it entered the city it was slow and heavy with the silt of the plains, and by the time it got to The Shades even an agnostic could have walked across it."
"`What timeīs sunset around here?ī
`We normally manage to fit it in between night and dayī"
"They were one of the oldest of the Discīs religious sects, although even the gods themselves
were divided as to whether Listening was really a proper religion, and all that prevented
their temple being wiped out by a few well-aimed avalanches was the fact that even the gods
were curious as to what it was that the Listeners might Hear. If thereīs one thing that really
annoys a god, itīs not knowing something.
The fact is that the Listeners are trying to work out precisely what it was that the Creator said when He made the universe.
The theory is quite straightforward.
Clearly, nothing that the Creator makes could ever be destroyed, which means that the echoes of those first syllables must still be around somewhere, bouncing and rebounding off all the matter in the cosmos but still audible to a really good listener.
Eons ago the Listeners had found that ice and chance had carved this one valley into the perfect acoustic opposite of an echo valley, and had built their multi-chambered temple in the exact position that the one comfy chair always occupies in the home of a rabid hi-fi fanatic. Complex baffles caught and amplified the sound that was funnelled up the chilly valley, steering it ever inwards to the central chamber where, at any hour of the day or night, three monks always sat.
"There had been a sound like someone making no noise at all. Forget peas and mattresses - sheer natural selection had established over the years that the royal families that survived longest were those whose members could distinguish an assassin in the dark by the noise he was clever enough not to make, because, in court circles, there was always someone ready to cut the heir with a knife."
"`Youīre dead,ī he said.
Keli waited. She couldnīt think of any suitable repy. `Iīm notī lacked a certain style, while `Is it serious?ī seemed somehow to frivolous."
- Cutwell and Princess Keli
"Heīd been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower."
"Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote."
"`It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,ī he said. `Have you
thought of going into teaching?ī"
- Mr. Keeble, the job broker, trying to find a new career for an ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION (Death)
"At about the time Albert was in The Mended Drum arguing with the landlord over a yellowing bar tab that had been handed down carefully from father to son through one regicide, three civil wars, sixty-one major fires, four hundred and ninety robberies and more than fifteen thousand barroom brawls to record the fact that Alberto Malich still owed the management three copper pieces plus interest currently standing at the contents of most of the Discīs larger strongrooms, which proved once again that an Ankhian merchant with an unpaid bill has the kind of memory that would make an elephant blink ..."
"The Rite of AshkEnte, quite simply, summons and binds Death. Students of the occult will be aware that it can be performed with a simple incantation, three small bits of wood and 4cc of mouse blood, but no wizard worth his pointy hat would dream of doing anything so unimpressive; they knew in their hearts that if a spell didnīt involve big yellow candles, lots of rare incense, circles drawn on the floor with eight different colours of chalk and a few cauldrons around the place then it simply wasnīt worth contemplating."
"Like a reluctant cork from a bottle, like a dollop of fiery ketchup from the upturned
sauce bottle of Infinity, Death landed in the octogram and swore."
- result of the Rite of AshkEnte
"He darted back into the priestīs robing room and struggled into the special ceremonial robe the palace seamstress had made up for him, digging deep into her workbasket for scraps of lace, sequins and gold thread to produce a garment of such dazzling tastelessness that even the ArchChancellor of Unseen University wouldnīt have been ashamed to wear it."
"There were more than nine hundred known gods on the Disc, and research theologicans were discovering more every year."
"Light on the Discworld isnīt like light elsewhere. Itīs grown up a bit, itīs been around, it doesnīt feel the need to rush everywhere. It knows that however fast it goes darkness always gets there first, so it takes it easy."
"`Er, excuse me,ī said Cutwell, holding his hat respectfully, Mexican fashion."
"When you step off a cliff, your life takes a very definite direction."