Rosary beads clicked between the fingers of Song Muhanmode ben Mahdi, Emperor of China and Imam of All Islam.
“Does the letter continue?” he said.
“The missive ends, your Majesty,” said the secretary, “with the words, ‘they shall surely kill us all. May Allah have mercy on us.’”
Silence filled the Hall of the Great Shia, as profound as the space between life and death.
“May Allah have mercy on them,” said the Imam-Emperor, “indeed.”