Key & Compass presents:
Lethe Flow Phoenix: A Flight of Fantasy
by Dan Shiovitz

Lethe Flow Phoenix: A Flight of Fantasy is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 1995 by Dan Shiovitz.

You play as a camper who is awoken by something at midnight on All Hallows' Eve. Investigating, you absentmindedly step off a cliff. In mid-air, before you black out, you are rescued by a presence with wings. Then you wake up in a pleasant grassy field on a sunny day. So... ah... what's going on?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Release 2 of the game.


(auto) (auto) Atop thegazebo In agarden A grassyfield, by anapple tree A burningdesert Insidethegazebo An openfield Insidethe hole Cliff top,by awaterfall Flyingnearcliff THEEND Smallcave Climbingthe cliff ControlCentral At baseof cliff Amidst themushrooms By a widestream End ofpath On afrozenlake u in u d in e d in 5 2 1 12 4 3 6 7 8 9 11 10 riverlocations one of 12locations (various) d u d out d d u e.e enterportal u e pull knob u touch screen



Although there's no way to know at first, you're inside an artificial environment, what comic book fans would call a "pocket universe". As such, it has boundaries. Instead of telling the player where the valid directions of travel are, the game usually only says which way the river flows, and you're meant to follow the river. Going away from the river, in an unblocked direction, takes you out of the environment into a burning desert.

But first, we need to solve a hunger puzzle. You'll start to get hungry at turn 15, and you'll die of hunger at turn 65 unless you eat something. This puzzle is sufficiently annoying and critical that it's worth skipping normal casual exploration until after the puzzle is solved.

A grassy field, by an apple tree

There's a talking apple tree here. He won't let you have an apple until you get rid of the robin in its branches. Trust me when I tell you the tree does not let you climb it nor let you throw anything at the robin (or at its apples).

> i. (You are empty-handed.)

> x tree. x robin. x face. x apples. x kite.

> take apple. (Just out of reach.)

> climb tree. (The tree yells at you.)

> ask tree about tree. ask tree about apples.

> ask tree about kite. ask tree about robin.

> w.

In a garden

> take red paper. x it.

> fold it into bird. (You make an origami crane.)

> s.

An open field

> x gazebo. in.

Inside the gazebo

> take cage. put crane in it.

> out. s.

Cliff top, by a waterfall

> take all. x box. x fly.

> n. n. e.

A grassy field, by an apple tree

> drop cage. turn crank. (You wind up the music box.)

> z. (Classical music plays.)

> z. (Water sounds play.)

> z. (Birdcalls play. The robin attacks the crane.)

> close cage. (Fire crackling sounds from the box now.)

> z. (Windchimes play. The robin sees it's trapped, and the tree is happy.)

> ask tree about apple. take apple. (The branch bends down and gives you one.)

> x your apple. eat apple.

Now that the threat of starvation is over, let's examine things properly.

> drop box.

> x flowers. x cage. x scraps. x brook.

> ask tree about kite. take kite. x kite.

> open cage. (The robin flies away.)

> w.

In a garden

Given time, some of the bushes will uproot themselves and tend the garden. The game calls them hedge beasts.

> x dragon. drink water.

> x bushes. x bridges. x beasts. x rocks. x walls.

> s. in.

Inside the gazebo

> x sundial. ("Tempus Non Fugit")

> x studs. (at six, eight, ten, twelve, two, and four o'clock.)

> x gnomon. x tiny crystal. x large crystal. (It's sad?)

> out. s.

Cliff top, by a waterfall

> x crack. x bottle. take it.

> open bottle. look in bottle.

> x magnet. (It's doughnut-shaped.)

> x paper. (A message from "D", welcomes you, and asks you to visit.)

> x stone. (Apple-sized.)

> drop stone. (You don't need its weight.)

> x waterfall.

Make sure you have the bottle and fly before using the kite.

> save.

> wear kite. jump. e. e.

Flying near cliff

CAUTION: Going other directions than east from here is fatal.

> e.

Amidst the mushrooms

> remove kite. x mushrooms. (A spider spins words in its web.)

> x web. ("Altered visions")

> x spider. (It's poisonous.)

> z. (New words form.) x web. ("All are doomed to die")

> z. z. x web. ("Reborn in fire")

> z. z. x web. ("Truth in death")

> z. z. x web. ("Phoenix")

After this, there are no new words on the web. Let's explore a bit first, to see what this area looks like normally, then get a mushroom for its "altered visions".

> w.

At base of cliff

> x waterfall. x river. x cliff.

> e. s.

End of path

> x hole. x bushes. x river.

> n. e.

By a wide stream

> x trees. x moss. x flowers.

> x stream. x glow. x quartz.

> w.

Amidst the mushrooms

> x mushrooms. x gray mushroom.

CAUTION: If you try to take the gray mushroom without throwing the fly, you are threatened by the spider on your first attempt. If you try to take the mushroom a second time without throwing the fly, the spider bites you and you die.

> throw fly at web. take gray mushroom. (You still get bitten, but you don't die immediately.)

> eat mushroom.

You go a bit mad, black out, then awaken to find your twin, a hallucination, standing here. He has a few things to say, and you can't leave until he's said them all.

> x twin. z. z.

> w.

At base of cliff

Zippy, your pet dog, is here.

> x Zippy. pet Zippy. e. s.

End of path

You great-aunt Polly is here.

> x Polly. n. e.

By a wide stream.

> x fish. (The lightfish are trying to tell you something?)

> take fish. (The fish jump and form an arch into pure darkness.)

> enter arch. (Twin, Zippy, and Polly stay behind.)

On a frozen lake

> x constellations. x ice. x star. z. look. (Daniel is here.)

> x Daniel. (He's a fallen angel.)

Daniel will now tell you a very long story.

> z. z. z. z. z.

So you're a Phoenix, a defender of mankind. And now you can ask up to seven questions:

> ask Daniel about phoenix. (Symbol of rebirth.)

> ask Daniel about Daniel. (Just a fallen angel.)

> ask Daniel about God. (He watches still.)

> ask Daniel about invaders. (Beings from another star.)

> ask Daniel about Zippy. (A faithful friend.)

> ask Daniel about Raphael. (They all died.)

> ask Daniel about father. (Try not to blame him too much.)

Question time is over, and you're back in...

By a wide stream

Your father is here.

> x father. (He gives a large speech and a hand grenade.)

> take grenade. x it.

> w. s.

End of path

Use the grenade to get rid of the artificial river. Note that the grenade won't work if it gets wet.

> take all from bottle.

> pull pin. put grenade in bottle. close bottle.

> put bottle in hole. n.

Amidst the mushrooms.

> z. z. z. z. (The grenade explodes, and the stream drains away.)

> save. w.

At base of cliff

> x cliff. (A cave-mouth is where the waterfall was.)

> u. in.

Small cave

> x floor. x knob. pull knob. (The floor tilts, dropping you into...)

Control Central

There's no exits from this room except the viewscreen portal.

> x handwritten note. (From Daniel about the portal.)

> x remote. take remote.

> x green dial. (range is 0 to 20; currently 8.)

> x black dial. (range is 0 to 12; currently 0.)

> x buttons. (The silver one is "Piping Repairs".)

> x chair. x viewscreen. x machines.

> touch touchpad. ("Portal access denied")

> push silver button. (Clanking noises.)

> z. z. (Clanking replaced by sound of running water.)

> push blue. (Gurgling/flushing; water stops.)

The black dial sets the location. Unfortunately, you cannot examine things remotely.

> turn black to 1. (See: A grassy field, by an apple tree.)

> turn black to 2. (See: In a garden.)

> turn black to 3. (See: An open field.)

> turn black to 4. (See: Inside the gazebo.)

> turn black to 5. (See: Atop the gazebo. Note the golden chain.)

> turn black to 6. (See: Cliff top.)

> turn black to 7. (See: Climbing the cliff.)

> turn black to 8. (See: At base of cliff.)

> turn black to 9. (See: Amidst the mushrooms.)

> turn black to 10. (See: End of path.)

> turn black to 11. (See: By an empty stream-bed.)

> turn black to 12. (See: A burning desert.)

CAUTION: If you touch the screen when the desert is showing, you will be stuck in the desert with no obvious way back.

Let's go to cliff top instead:

> turn black to 6. touch screen.

Cliff top

I want to lighten our load and leave the kite here for later.

> drop kite, paper, pin.

> n. u.

Atop the Gazebo

> x wall. (It's a gnomon.)

> x vane. (A turtle?)

> x chain. take chain. (It's out of reach.)

> d. n.

In a garden

Wait for the hedge beasts to finish their chores.

> z. (Repeat waiting until they're bushes themselves.)

When the hedge beasts are asleep:

> look under bush. (You find and take three tools, assuming your load isn't too full or too heavy.)

> drop bucket and spade. (You only need the rake.)

> s. u.

Atop the gazebo

> take chain with rake. wear chain.

> d.

An open field

> push yellow button. (A pillar appears.)

An open field

> x pillar.

> x panel. (joystick and status meter; meter has 4 blocks filled out of 11.)

> x joystick. (can be pulled left or pushed right.)

> pull joystick. (Status meter loses a block; the sun has moved.)

> x sun.

Experimenting with the joystick, you can learn:

> in.

Inside the gazebo

You can remove the studs with the magnet, leaving holes:

> put magnet on two. take it.

> put magnet on four. take it.

> put magnet on six. take it.

> put magnet on eight. take it.

> put magnet on ten. take it.

> put magnet on twelve. take it.

> x sundial. (Holes are where the studs were.)

Now use the chain's sphere:

> put sphere in two. (Chime; violet light strikes the large crystal.)

> put sphere in four. (Chime; blue light strikes the large crystal.)

> put sphere in six. (Chime; green light strikes the large crystal.)

> put sphere in eight. (Chime; yellow light strikes the large crystal.)

> put sphere in ten. (Chime; orange light strikes the large crystal.)

> put sphere in twelve. (Chime; red light strikes the large crystal.)

That does the trick. After a sound and light show, the crystals vanish, the roof retracts, and floor starts to tilt.

> look. (The gazebo is going up!)

> z. (The gazebo stops in midair at 3 or 4 meters up.)

Note that the gazebo's shadow now reaches the boulders in the field; it's a sundial too. A rope ladder is somehow now here so you can climb down.

> d.

An open field

Note: There's six boulders: first to sixth, all surrounding the gazebo, just like the studs/holes in the gazebo. With the gazebo's shadow, this entire field is a sundial!

> x boulders. x shadow.

Pull/push the joystick until the shadow hits the fifth boulder. You want the meter to be 8 blocks full, so you probably want to push the joystick.

> push joystickorpull joystick. (Repeat as necessary.)

The fifth boulder is a turtle! It walks away west, into the desert, leaving a large hole in the ground.

> x hole. d.

Inside the hole

> x floor. x mirror. clean it.

> x mirror.

You get a huge textdump review of your sad past. After you cry, Daniel tells you it's time for your rebirth, to turn on the portal, and to go home.

> touch touchpad. ("Portal engaged")

> u. s.

Cliff top

> drop all. take glider. wear glider. e. e.

Flying near cliff

> x portal. enter portal.

At peace with yourself, you return back to the cliff you fell from, still falling (even though it's half a day later), and you spread your flame wings and fly.

*** THE END ***



You are the "Phoenix". Although it's never fully explained what that means, at the very least it gives you the power to manifest flames and wings — except not during this game because you first need to accept and be at peace with yourself. Sorry about that. The power was gifted by Daniel to one of your ancestors in order to help mankind repel invaders. We're not told who the invaders are, nor how your abilities are supposed to help with that task. The power of the Phoenix is genetic; your father was the Phoenix before you, and your great-aunt Polly was the Phoenix before him.

You'll meet the following characters in approximately this order:


From the HELP menu: 5. Credits and Thanks

[This is my first game. Bear with me, these are going to be long credits.]

Well, let's see. There are a good number of authors I could thank for this game, but I'll just name one. Barry Hughart, author of Bridge of Birds and other novels of semi-historical China, is not only an amazing writer but also a decent historian. Originally this game was going to be a short one about the five elements of Chinese mythology, but gradually all that got replaced, leaving only the rock garden behind to commemorate the original idea. I'd also like to thank the band They Might Be Giants, and the British sci-fi/comedy tv show, Red Dwarf, although I'm not exactly sure why. Let's just say those two were very responsible for shaping my impressionable young mind, and leave it at that.

Now, with ref to people in the interactive fiction community. I'd like to thank Gerry K Wilson (email redacted), for Avalon and general i-f articles, as well as Erica Sadun (email redacted), author of The Sound of One Hand Clapping, my personal favorite piece of i-f. David Bagget (email redacted), also, deserves a mention. These three people are but a few of the dozens I could have named. I've played excellent games by a great number of people, but these three really stand out in my mind (and I'm sure there are many others who should stand out in my mind, but I've forgotten them at the moment).

Finally, we get to the game-related thanks. First, the playtesters. The first was Michael Kinyon (email redacted), who was playtesting games before this game was even a glimmer in my mind, and found more bugs the first time he sat down with it than I had in the weeks of debugging beforehand. Funny how that works, eh?

The other playtester was Eric Moon (email redacted), a good friend of mine. Eric gets special mention for various reasons, one of which is that he nursed this game from its creation date until now, and without whose ceaseless help and encouragement this would not have been written. I've always wanted to write that. But in this case it's actually true. Not only did he do some of the preliminary debugging, he helped enormously with plot and puzzle details (in many strange late-night email sessions). More specifically, he's responsible for what happens to the gazebo, the forest stream and the fish, the glider and the way you return home, and for eliminating any number of obvious bugs I was too thick to notice :P. Thanks, Eric.

More thanks: To Gerry K Wilson, whose water.t module inspired mine, even though they aren't really related or anything, and to Trevor Powell, whose directed dialog system inspired this help system, although these two also aren't really related. Lars Joedal (email redacted) posted an article to a few years back, and discussed something that evolved into the (Taking the XXX first) system I have here, so he deserves high praise for that one. David Bagget is also responsible for WorldClass, which I used as a reference for a number of changes.

Ok, last thanks: To Gerry K Wilson again (geez, this guy gets all the mentions), but only as a figurehead this time. I'm singling him out for running the First Annual Short I-F contest, but that's just symbolic of all the people (including me, I guess) who argued and otherwise helped bring the contest (and thus this game) into being. Although, it should be noted (with a slightly embarassed grin) that this game isn't entered in the contest, having grown too big for the one requirement.

Version two-related thanks: Well, nobody's perfect. Since this game has been out, I've been forced to admit that that even applies to me :P A special thanks to everyone who pointed out bugs in the first version of the game to me. If there's any bugs still left, please tell me, I'd like to fix 'em. Primary debuggers were David Gilbert (email redacted), and Andrew Plotkin (email redacted). Thanks, guys.

To everyone who helped, many of whom I don't have space to mention, most of whom were (and still are) unknowing of this fact: THANKS!

Dan Shiovitz
(email redacted)


Note: It's also possible to put yourself into unwinnable situations. Some ways to do that include (not a complete list):


Note: There's some weight and bulk limits with inventory in this game, so don't burden yourself with things you don't need.

In alphabetical order (by noun):


The river is an artificial closed system and can be turned on and off by pushing the blue button on the remote.

The circular nature of the river can be shown by the bird cage, since it floats on the river and can travel that way. It can get caught on the rocks before the waterfall and free itself several times before falling over the edge. Amidst the mushrooms, there's a chance the cage could go either east or south.

If the cage goes south, it will fall into the hole and eventually be regurgitated by the dragon head fountain in the garden.

Unfortunately, if the cage ought to go east, there's a bug and the cage stops traveling until you pick it up and try again. And it does no good to carry the cage to "By a wide stream" and drop it into the stream there; the river-travel code is also buggy at that location. My guess is that if the cage floats east off the map, then the cage ought to next reappear on the river by the apple tree.

Note that objects can also be put into the river by the hedge beasts; if you drop anything other than their tools in the garden, they'll put the garbage into the river. They will reclaim their own tools; objects left on the garden rocks will be ignored.


Instead of a numerical score, the game lists the major and minor goals that the player accomplished. "Goals" is a bit misleading; "accomplishments" would be a more accurate term, since the player can hardly be expected to anticipate most of these items ahead of time. Also, I find the distinction between major and minor goals to be somewhat arbitrary. In general, most of the major goals are things the player must do to win, and several of the minor goals are optional bits of business, but not always. Goals are listed in the order that the player accomplishes them, not necessarily in the order shown below.

You played for several turns. In that time, you accomplished [either] number of the major goals (percentage of the total number), namely: [or] all the major goals! Good job! This meant: [as appropriate]

  1. Luring the robin from the tree.
    Play the music box near the robin while the crane is in the open cage.
  2. Having a snack.
    Eat the apple.
  3. Obtaining a hang-glider.
    Ask the apple tree about the kite after you've caged the robin.
  4. Using the hang-glider.
    At cliff top, wear the the hang-glider and go east twice.
  5. Landing a glider, more or less.
    Go east from "Flying near cliff" to land at "Amidst the mushrooms".
  6. Distracting the spider.
    Throw the fly at the web.
  7. Entering a state of altered conciousness.
    Eat the gray mushroom.
  8. Finding Daniel.
    Enter the arch (made by taking a lightfish at "By a wide stream") and wait a few turns.
  9. Talking to Daniel.
    Ask Daniel about various topics, eg: Phoenix.
  10. Seeing your father, one last time.
    This happens automatically after your interview with Daniel.
  11. Stopping the water.
    See grenade.
  12. Moving the sun.
    Pull or push the joystick on the control panel in the open field; the panel is revealed by pushing the yellow button on the remote.
  13. Making the sundial work.
  14. Raising a gazebo.
  15. Convincing a turtle to sun-bathe elsewhere.
    Push the joystick on the control panel until the raised gazebo's shadow covers the fifth boulder, which is actually an enormous turtle.
  16. Reflecting on your life.
    Clean the mirror at "Inside the hole", then look at it.
  17. Summoning a portal.
    After examining the clean mirror, touch the touchpad of the remote.
  18. Flying into a portal.
    At cliff top, wear the hang-glider, go east twice, then enter the portal.

You also accomplished number of the minor goals (percentage of the total number), namely:

  1. Doing a bit of origami.
    Fold the red paper into a bird.
  2. Keeping the robin out of the tree.
    Close the cage with the robin inside it.
  3. Seeing visions in the desert.
    You just need to visit the desert, at least once.
  4. Seeing the hedge beasts.
    You just need to visit the garden and wait a bit.
  5. Setting the robin free.
    Open the bird cage after you caught the robin. It's okay to do this near the apple tree; the robin flies out of the game.
  6. Reading a note.
    Read the piece of paper that's inside the glass bottle.
  7. Reading words in an unexpected place.
    Examine the web at "Amidst the mushrooms".
  8. Getting the mushroom.
  9. Seeing a hallucination of yourself.
  10. Hallucinating Zippy.
  11. Hallucinating Polly.
  12. Assembling an arch.
    Take a lightfish at "By a wide stream" while hallucinating (see mushroom).
  13. Finding Control Central.
    After using the grenade to destroy the river's plumbing, climb the cliff, enter the small cave that's halfway up, then pull the knob in the cave.
  14. Reading another note.
    Read the handwritten note in Control Central; it's on the chair.
  15. Repairing the piping system.
    Push the silver button on the remote.
  16. Discovering some gardening tools.
    Look under a bush in the garden while the hedge beasts are sleeping.
  17. Getting your hooks onto a necklace.
    At the top of the gazebo, take the chain with the rake.
  18. Removing some studs.
    In the gazebo, put the magnet on a stud, then take the magnet to pull the stud out of its hole. Do this for all six studs.
  19. Seeing the light.
    Put the chain's sphere into any sundial hole, after you've removed a stud.

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