The Eternal Flame 0:

Prologue: The Vision

Setting: Yazd, Iran – The Sacred Fire Temple

The city of Yazd, nestled in the heart of Iran, is a place where time seems to stand still. Its ancient streets, lined with mud-brick houses and wind towers, whisper tales of a bygone era. At the city’s core lies the sacred fire temple, Yazd Atash Behram, a sanctuary of Zoroastrian faith and tradition. The temple, with its Achaemenid architecture and serene gardens, is a beacon of spiritual light in the arid desert landscape.

High Priest Arash, a venerable figure with a flowing white beard and piercing eyes, stood before the eternal flame, the Atash Bahram. This flame, kindled over 1,500 years ago, had never been extinguished, symbolizing purity, truth, and the divine presence of Ahura Mazda. The fire danced and flickered, casting a warm, golden glow that illuminated the temple’s ornate walls adorned with ancient Zoroastrian symbols.

As Arash tended to the sacred fire, adding a piece of almond wood to the bronze furnace, he felt a sudden, overwhelming presence. The air grew thick with an otherworldly energy, and the flames roared higher, their light intensifying. Arash’s heart raced as he sensed that something extraordinary was about to unfold.

The Vision

In an instant, the world around Arash dissolved into a cascade of vivid images and symbols. He saw the Faravahar, the winged symbol of Zoroastrianism, its wings representing good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. The figure’s reaching hand urged humanity to strive for higher ideals, while the circle at its center symbolized the eternal nature of the soul.

Next, Arash beheld the Sudre and Kusti, the sacred shirt and cord worn by Zoroastrians, symbolizing purity and spiritual armor. He saw the Cypress Tree, a symbol of eternal life and resilience, standing tall and unyielding. The Avesta, the holy scriptures of Zoroastrianism, appeared before him, its ancient verses glowing with divine wisdom.

Amidst these symbols, a radiant artifact emerged—the Eternal Flame. Unlike the fire he tended, this flame was ethereal, pulsating with a celestial light that seemed to contain the essence of the universe. It was a beacon of knowledge, power, and unity, capable of transforming humanity’s destiny.

Arash’s mind was flooded with a torrent of revelations. He saw seven sanctuaries scattered across the globe, each holding a fragment of the Eternal Flame. These sanctuaries, hidden and protected for millennia, were the keys to unlocking the artifact’s full potential. The vision revealed a map, ancient and intricate, detailing the locations of these sanctuaries.

As the vision reached its climax, Arash saw a shadowy figure—a symbol of darkness and greed—pursuing the Eternal Flame. This figure, representing the Illuminated Brotherhood, sought to harness the artifact’s power for malevolent purposes. The fate of the world hung in the balance, and only one man could decipher the mystery and prevent catastrophe.

The Awakening

Arash gasped as the vision faded, leaving him breathless and trembling. The sacred fire had returned to its normal state, its gentle flames flickering serenely. He knew that the vision was a divine message, a call to action that could not be ignored.

Realizing the gravity of the situation, Arash reached for his phone and dialed a number he knew by heart. The line crackled as it connected to Professor Darius Sharifi, an esteemed expert in ancient symbols and a trusted friend.

“Darius, it’s Arash,” he said, his voice urgent. “I need your help. I’ve had a vision—an extraordinary vision. The Eternal Flame, the sanctuaries, the symbols… It’s all connected. We must act quickly.”

On the other end of the line, Professor Sharifi listened intently. He had dedicated his life to studying ancient texts and symbols, and he understood the significance of Arash’s words. “Arash, this is incredible,” he replied. “We need someone who can decipher these symbols and unravel the mystery. There’s only one person who can help us—Robert Langdon.”

The Call to Adventure

Thousands of miles away, at Harvard University, Professor Robert Langdon was immersed in his lecture on symbology. The classroom was filled with eager students, captivated by Langdon’s insights into the hidden meanings behind ancient symbols. As he spoke, his phone buzzed with an encrypted message.

Langdon glanced at the screen, his curiosity piqued. The message was from Professor Sharifi, containing images of Zoroastrian symbols and a plea for help. The urgency in the message was palpable, and Langdon felt an irresistible pull toward the mystery.

“Class, we’ll continue this discussion next time,” Langdon said, concluding his lecture. He quickly gathered his belongings and made his way to his office, where he could examine the message in detail.

As he studied the images and symbols, Langdon’s mind raced with possibilities. The Faravahar, the Sudre and Kusti, the Cypress Tree, and the Avesta—all pointed to a profound connection with Zoroastrianism. The map, with its intricate details, hinted at a journey that spanned continents and centuries.

Langdon knew that he had to act. Despite the political tensions in Iran, the mystery of the Eternal Flame was too compelling to ignore. He contacted Professor Sharifi, who provided further details about Arash’s vision and the urgency of their mission.

“Robert, we need you in Tehran as soon as possible,” Sharifi said. “Arash’s vision is a divine message, and the fate of the world may depend on it. The Illuminated Brotherhood is already on the move, and we must stay one step ahead.”

Langdon nodded, his resolve firm. “I’ll be on the next flight,” he replied. “Tell Arash I’m coming. We’ll uncover the truth and protect the Eternal Flame.”

The Journey Begins

As Langdon boarded the plane to Tehran, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation and trepidation. The journey ahead was fraught with danger and uncertainty, but the stakes were too high to turn back. The vision of the Eternal Flame, with its promise of knowledge and unity, was a beacon of hope in a world teetering on the brink of chaos.

In Tehran, Langdon was greeted by Lila Farzaneh, a brilliant archaeologist and Sharifi’s former student. Lila’s eyes sparkled with intelligence and determination as she briefed Langdon on the situation.

“Professor Sharifi has gone missing,” Lila said, her voice tinged with worry. “He left behind cryptic clues about his latest discovery. We need to find him and uncover the sanctuaries before the Illuminated Brotherhood does.”

Langdon and Lila’s journey began at the sacred fire temple in Yazd, where Arash awaited them. The high priest, still shaken by his vision, welcomed them with open arms.

“Robert, Lila, thank you for coming,” Arash said, his voice filled with gratitude. “The vision I received is a divine message. The Eternal Flame holds the key to humanity’s future, and we must protect it at all costs.”

Together, they examined the ancient map and the symbols, piecing together the clues that would lead them to the seven sanctuaries. Each sanctuary held a fragment of the Eternal Flame, and their journey would take them across deserts, mountains, and jungles.

As they prepared to embark on their quest, Langdon couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and responsibility. The vision of the Eternal Flame had set them on a path of discovery and danger, but it also held the promise of a brighter future.

With determination in their hearts and the guidance of ancient wisdom, Langdon, Lila, and Arash set out on their epic journey. The fate of the world hung in the balance, and the mystery of the Eternal Flame awaited them.


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