Walking back to his tent, Santiago encounters a black-clad horseman with a falcon on his left shoulder. The horseman wears a turban, and a black covering across his face leaves only his eyes visible. He sits atop a huge white horse that rears up on its hind legs. The horseman pulls a sword from its scabbard and demands, "Who dares to read the meaning of the flight of the hawks?" The horseman presses the sword against Santiago's forehead, drawing a small drop of blood. Santiago has no fear of dying, however, as doing so would allow him to join the Soul of the World. Santiago explains that he is only following his Personal Legend, which pacifies the stranger. He puts his sword away and tells Santiago, "I had to test your courage . . . the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World." Santiago has just met the alchemist. The following day, the Al-Fayoum oasis is invaded by five hundred mounted tribesmen. At first they
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