In this small game, you play as a farmer. It's now time to chop the wood, but your good axe is missing. The piskeys must have stolen it. Better take Reverd Pearson's book of tales with you when you go piskey-hunting. You can't explain why you need the book, but you know it's true.
This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 5 of the game.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Reading a walkthrough prematurely can sometimes diminish one's enjoyment of an interactive fiction game. Please make an honest effort to play the game before reading this walkthrough.
☆ means all compass directions go this way by default unless some other condition applies.
$ means all compass directions go this way if you've read the Tale of the Cabbage Farmer but you haven't taken the knife out of the clearing yet.
† means all compass directions go this way if you're carrying the knife.
‡ means all compass directions go this way if you've carried the knife out from the clearing.
sw ◄ means that the southwest direction goes this way if you've examined the knife's shadow.
► ne means that the northeast direction goes this way if you've examined the knife's shadow.
Your Front Room
> x me. i.(Carrying nothing.)
> x table. x book. take book. read book.
You must have the book with you. You can't leave without it.
> x barn. x house. x road. x forest.
Under the Trees
Between here and the the oak stump location, all compass directions are the same until you're told one direction is more special than the others. Where you end up when you travel in the forest is determined by which plot points you've accomplished so far.
> x trees. climb tree. s.
> x sumac. s.
> x glass. take bead.(Reminds you of a story.)
> read book.(You read the Tale of the Cabbage Farmer.)
> x oak. s.
> x man. x hat. give bead to man.(He drops a knife and he's gone.)
> take knife. x it.(Reminds you of a story.)
> read book.(You read the Four Doors.)
The story tells you to put the knife into an oak stump and follow the knife's shadow.)
> x stump. put knife in stump.
> x shadow.(It points southwest.)
Under the Trees
Hmmm. You don't really want to go home. You still want your axe.
> s. s. s.
Let's go the opposite way from "home".
> x holly. read book.(You read The Village and the Night Gomps.)
The story tells you about how a boy wove holly branches into a wreath, washed it, wore it as a hat, then entered a cave invisibily.
> take holly. x glint. take axe.
(Press any key)
You are someone else now.
> x me. i.(You don't have a book.)
> x axe-head.
> weave branches. x wreath.
You cannot go northwest until you wear a wet holly wreath.
> x stream.
> wash wreath. nw.(The gloom gives you pause.)
> wear wreath. nw.
Amid the Trees
> x chapel. n.
You're the Reverend and you remove the wreath. You decide you'll write down your fancies as a book of fairy tales.
*** The End ***
The initial player-character is a farmer who simply wants to take his lost axe back from the piskeys.
A man in an absurd hat has lost his watch jewel. You meet him in a clearing.
Reverend Pearson is the second player-character and he just wants to return to his chapel. At game's end, he decides to write a book of fairy tales, the same book that the farmer reads in the first half of the game.
The farmer calls his mule "the Bishop".
The farmer thinks that piskeys stole his axe. He probably means "pixies".
Many and various characters are mentioned in the book of tales, of course.
The response to CREDITS is:
Cold Iron would not exist but for the help and support of my friends, my IF work group, my beta-testers, Bates College, and the person who suggested the original idea. Plus, of course, everybody who played the game in the first few days of the IFComp. The "look for axe" command is dedicated to you.
(Apologies for being unspecific. There's no point in using a pseudonym if you credit your friends by name. After the IF Competition judging is over, I will release an update with all the details.)
a book. It's on the table in your front room.
You won't be willing to leave your home without the book.
After finding the bead, read the book. "The Tale of the Cabbage Farmer" tells you that you can be rewarded for returning a lost stone.
After examining the knife, read the book again. "Four Doors" tells you that if you stick a knife into an oak stump, the hilt's shadow will point the way home.
When you arrive at the small hill, the holly reminds you of a third story, so read the book yet again. "The Village and the Night Gomps" tells you that a woven holly wreath, washed in a stream and worn as a hat, makes one invisible to the night gomps.
The book leaves your inventory when you take the axe-head and the player-character becomes the Reverend.
a glass bead. You find it half-hidden under the fallen oak.
Taking it reminds you of a story. Read the book.
In the clearing, a man wearing an absurd hat is looking for his watch jewel. Give the bead to him, and he'll leave his knife behind for you.
a gleaming knife. It's in the clearing after you give the bead to the man.
Examining the knife reminds you of another story. Read the book again.
At the oak stump, put the knife into the stump and examine the knife's shadow to learn that home is to the southwest. Deduce that away from home must be to the northeast.
Leave the knife behind. You won't need it again. What's important is that you examined the shadow and learned which direction it pointed to. If you do take it, it will leave your inventory when you take the axe-head and become the Reverend.
some holly branches. Take them on the small hill.
Weave the holly branches. You now have a holly wreath. This is clued by the third story in the book.
an axe-head. It's on the small hill. You see it glint after you take the holly branches.
Taking the axe-head, touching cold iron, changes the player-character to the Reverend. You will no longer be carrying the book or the knife if you, as the farmer, had them.
a holly wreath. Make it by weaving the holly branches.
At the dim copse, wash the wreath (in the stream) then wear the now-wet wreath. Now you can continue northwest into the gloom.
Also, one or two more items may exist in this game as part of the hat metapuzzle.
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