Chapter 58 Summary
On the way to the gates, Crispin furtively hands Bear the stolen dagger from the castle. Bear hides it in his cloak. When they arrive at the gates, Aycliffe shouts that Crispin is a wolf’s head. Aycliffe cannot attack Crispin personally because of a vow, but he offers a monetary reward to anyone willing to kill the boy.
Quickly, Bear shoves Crispin behind him and draws the dagger. As he does so, his cloak slips partway off, showing how beaten and bloody his body is. The wounds do not seem to slow him down. He shouts curses at Aycliffe: “Oath Breaker! Murderer!” As the nearby soldiers draw their swords and surround Crispin and Bear, the city people gather to watch. Bear brandishes the dagger, threatening anyone who comes close. Behind him, Crispin just tries not to get in the way.
Lured by Bear’s taunts, Aycliffe attacks with his sword. Bear fights back with the dagger. Both men manage to deflect several blows while everyone else stands still, watching. Aycliffe drives Bear backward toward a group of soldiers. They draw their swords, and Crispin shouts a warning. Bear twists out of the range of the swordsmen, but in the process he manages to drop the dagger. Crispin darts into the fray to pick it up.
Now that Crispin is armed, he draws Aycliffe’s attention. Taking his chance, Bear grabs Aycliffe from behind, picks him up, and throws him at his soldiers’ swords. The soldiers do not have time to back away, and their weapons kill their own leader. This leaves them shocked and terrified—which is good for Crispin and Bear. Bear grabs the stolen dagger and Aycliffe’s sword. He brandishes them in the soldiers’ faces, and they slink away.
Even though Aycliffe is dead, Crispin is still determined to fulfill his part of their bargain. He runs forward and puts his cross of lead into Aycliffe’s dead hands. Then Crispin and Bear leave the city. When they reach a safe distance, they hug each other, and Bear puts his jester cap on Crispin’s head. Shouting for anyone nearby to hear, Bear says:
I, Bear of York…do dub this boy, Crispin of Stromford, a full member of the guild of free men. In so being, he is free of all obligations save to his God.
Crispin pulls his recorder out of Bear’s bag and begins playing a tune. As Crispin: The Cross of Lead ends, he and his friend walk away from Great Wexly, free.