St. Joseph of Arimathea Day, in the eighth year of King Richard II
I am not an irreligious man. My faith is my own. And it is private. I believe in belief, for what it is worth. It is in a man’s actions that has far more sway with me. What a man leaves behind, his legacy, can be material, but far greater can be his mark upon the world by his actions. This is the intangible, that which cannot be measured on a scale or in a money pouch.
When I consider myself in this scheme, I naturally do not see a legacy of coins to leave behind, or even an estate. That was forfeit long ago. No, what I see is a bit of myself…in Jack Tucker’s eyes. Perhaps he shall be my legacy. Perhaps the name of Crispin Guest will not be spat upon the street in words of reproach, but in the whispered tone of respect and admiration. Here was a man, they might say, that rose above his past, his lot. Here was a man whose footsteps led to justice; who righted wrongs; who helped his fellow man…
Ah, but then. I look into the eyes of the sheriff, into the eyes of my fellow man, and I see only disdain and bitterness. These dark streets of London do not hold redemption for me. They hold only the stink of man’s hatred for himself. His noble bearing straightens so that he might kick a lowlier man. He looks away from the hunger and despair lying mere steps away in the bleak shadows. He uses his opportunity not to give charitably but to snip a money pouch or slit a throat, whichever is easiest.
My legacy, then, is a secret one. I will do what I must. And I will see no indulgence granted to me. No lessening of my Purgatory here on the Shambles. If God grants me peace, it shall be the long sleep in the cold ground of a London graveyard. If I am lucky, my name might be etched upon a stone paid for by the few friends I have managed to acquire. If not, well. Perhaps Jack Tucker will grow to his majority a man who once knew a former knight; a knight who taught him a bit of a rusty code that Young Tucker took into his manhood like the blunted blade that hangs at his hip; used it when he could and perhaps invoked the name of Crispin Guest not as a curse, but as a brief blessing.