It always begins with a fount of knowledge. The all-seeing eye that watches and records, and the leak from it back into the mortal world.
Leaks always seem like a good idea at the time.
Some over-confident blowhard is brought down by a well-timed leak. The gods are keeping useful things like “fire” to themselves, but a gutsy mortal, acting on a leak, can steal it.
But all too often, the result of a leak is more scandal, and punishment of the source.
That is partially why Sisyphus is still pushing that boulder, after all.
And even though he has since learned to apply tools to his problem and shave years off his sentence, math tells us that his sentence is still forever. He’s also learned that magic such as levitation is considered cheating, and didn’t earn him any goodwill. Cheating was the larger part of why he was condemned to that boulder in the first place.
In fact, his only way out is to simply endure it, serve his time, and hope that he is laboring in a side timeline that will be looped back into the normal frame of things so that after his infinite service, he returns humbled and can redeem his good name.
They won’t believe the tale he’ll tell, of course.
By day, I’m still and asleep, resting until I’m needed again. But by night, I am the selfless hero guarding my young charges from all the monsters that go bump in the dark. But most of all, guarding them from the Goblin King.
The ray of light I shine into the dark deep may be mostly metaphorical, but that doesn’t matter to my charge. Luckily most of the monsters I face are also metaphorical. So it is mostly my own self-confidence that powers the winning blow.
And so I stand ready, ever vigilant, and sworn to protect.