"the way of hard truths or the way of fine lies?"

This phrase reminds me of 'the Gates of Horn and the Gates of Ivory.' In Greek mythology these are 'gates' where true dreams pass (the gates of horn) and false dreams pass (the gates of ivory.)  The gates feature in Gaiman's first Sandman graphic novel, Preludes and Nocturnes.

Preludes and Nocturnes on Book Drum

In Virgil's Aeneid, the 'gates of horn and ivory' represent 'true shadows' and 'false dreams.'