When Bear peers over the crest of land and sees a group of men, including John Aycliffe, lying in wait for Crispin, what does he realize? In what way is this a turning point in the story?

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While Bear and Crispin are making their way to Great Wexley, they suddenly see a flock of birds who have been disturbed by some yet unknown force. The two carefully and quietly make their way to a well spot in the forest that allows them to look out on the land beyond the hills. Bear is very cautious, presumably because he fears someone may be tailing him to prevent his rebel meetings in town. When they look out over the crest of land, Bear and Crispin see a group of armed men guarding a bridge. Crispin recognized John Aycliffe among them and alerts Bear to his identity. After making their retreat, Bear questions Crispin and asks whether he is actually guilty of the crime he is being hunted for. When Crispin sincerely pleads his innocence, Bear begins to suspect that there is something more going on. 

When Bear and Crispin make camp that night, Bear asks to see Crispin's little cross of lead. (We learn later that it is inscribed with "Crispin- Son of Furnival.") After reading the inscription, Bear is very quiet and insists he couldn't make out the writing. The next day, Bear is acting oddly and makes Crispin promise that if anyone ever attacks them, he must flee as far away as possible. Rather than turning Crispin in as a criminal, Bear doubles down on his efforts to protect the boy. Not only does he keep Crispin's secret, he physically defends Crispin and teaches him to look after himself. After all, they are both enemies of the establishment- Bear, a rebel, and Crispin, the bastard heir of Lord Furnival. Bear's realization is a turning point because it shifts their relationship from one of merely master and apprentice or master and servant to protector and protected.

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Crispin: The Cross of Lead

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