Hello all, I'm "Juno", the creator of the Blacksmith's Apprentice. Thanks for all the kind words about the game! It's been a real encouragement to continue working on it, since (as those who use RPG Maker XP certainly know) development takes time and doesn't always feel very rewarding. So thank to all who've taken the time to play this *long* game and post their feedback.
I'm currently taking a break on development, hoping to recharge my creative batteries a little. Book 2 is probably a third of the way finished, if I had to guess.
As for the issue triggering the lock-pick quest: is it Autumn yet? That quest SHOULD happen once you have the coal (not just the coalbrim), and return to Thief's Haven. Also, make sure you have the latest version. It's here: http://www.mediafire.com/?zmvtn04g0yw
Let me know if this doesn't add up, and glad you're enjoying it!
EDIT: Also, about the question of the chest on the Dewbream farm, HIGHLIGHT to see the spoiler:
When it becomes winter, some of the smaller ponds and rivers will freeze over, allowing you to walk over them. Certain areas will only be available during the winter.