Pyramid of Two Suns
Sacred monumental temple of the Two Sun religion
As we crested the peak of Sentinel Rock, we saw the Cruz River stretching north through the corn fields and mesquite groves of Pimaca, principal city of the Two Sun city-states. None of the stories I'd heard about the land of Two Suns could prepare me for my first glimpse of the solar pyramid. The tower was constructed of stone terraces built into six ascending tiers, one piled on top of the other. Upon the topmost of these tiers, I saw the temples of Mazta and Ahriman, twin gods of sun and shadow. As we approached the base of the pyramid, the temples disappeared from view, blocked by the sheer face of the massive man-made mountain of To'Son Melor Cha, “The Great Temple of Two Suns." A breathtaking sight to behold!
The Great Temple Pyramid was built to glorify the worship of the Two Sun Clan's dualist solar faith. The Priest-King of Pima, Heirophant of the Sacred Suns, keeps his throne chair atop the pyramid's highest tier and holds court there among his warrior-thanes, the Children of the Sun.
Built by "makers" of the Ur-Zen Empire in the first century of the Post-Cataclysmic Era, the Pyramid of Two Suns is constructed of basalt megaliths piled upon a core support structure of hardened Precursor concrete reinforced with steel rods. Subsequent generations of Pimaca builders have slaked the walls of the pyramid in layers of limestone plaster which they decorate with elaborate frescoes depicting the iconography and sacred myths of the Two Sun faith.
The pyramid itself is square-based. Its four sides are oriented with the cardinal directions and the temple fronting faces east to greet the rising sun. The six terraces of the pyramid are joined by two sets of steep stairs built into the eastern facing. The dizzying ascent is angled at 45 degrees, giving supplicants who approach the sacred pinnacle the sensation of climbing into the heavens.
Each terrace of the pyramid contains its own complex of Precursor-built halls and chambers. At the lowest tiers (1 and 2) all of these rooms have been re-purposed to furnish living quarters for Pimaca City's priest class and the acolytes of the temple itself.
The pyramid's middle tiers (3 and 4) contain oracle chambers, prayer halls, and chantries dedicated to prayers and sacrifices conducted in the Two Sun religion. Within the central column of the structure there are tabernacle vaults containing precious Precursor relics. Only high priests of the twin temples may enter these vaults and those who violate this restriction are punished with execution.
The top tiers (5 and 6) are reserved for the high priests and prelates of the Two Sun faith. Here the theocrats of the Two Sun clan, including the High Heirophant, hold their councils and govern the lives of their subjects. Atop the stairs leading to the sixth terrace is a kingly throne carved from a massive piece of yellow jade. This is the throne of Huracan, Priest-King of the Two Suns.
The top terrace of the pyramid, approximately 200 feet high, is topped by two temples. One of these is graced in white marble and gold. Known as the House of Light, it is dedicated to Mazta, God of the Bright Sun. The other temple, called the House of Shadows, honours Mazta's negative factor, Ahriman, Lord of the Black Sun. His temple is hewn from black volcanic rock and draped in purple damask shrouds.
Between these temples there is a bas-relief mural sculpture depicting the eternal struggle of the dual solar divinities: Mazta and Ahriman. Only high-priests of the Two Suns cult are permitted to look upon the mural.
At the waning of the Age of Poisoned Sea and Sky, the Pyramid of Two Suns was the citadel tower of Sentinel Outpost, an important bastion of the Ur-Zen Empire. According to the word keepers, the pyramid was a locus of great power which the Precursors of Ur-Zen harnessed to fuel their wondrous technological marvels. After the second cataclysm and the fall of the Precursor kingdoms, however, the pyramid and its surrounding settlement was abandoned in a diaspora known as the Plague Exodus.
The survivors that settled in the ruins of Sentinel Outpost consecrated the citadel pyramid as a holy site and built the temples of Mazta and Ahriman atop its pinnacle terrace to honour their own gods. Believing the massive pyramid to to be the work of the Visitors, Mazta's divine servants, the early priests of the Two Sun cult investigated the pyramid's inner chambers and pursued the mysteries of the Ur-Zen Sun Seekers. According to legend, the Two Sun priests received the wisdom of Mazta and Ahriman's final revelation, a power source known as the Sunfire.
From that time onward, the priests of Two Suns have served as guardians of the Sunfire. They await the day of decision when either Mazta or Ahriman will finally return to claim the hidden power of the pyramid. On that day either Mazta will use the Sunfire to glorify the earth and prepare it for a new age of splendor, or Ahriman will wield it to burn the world and rip it asunder.
Rites and Ceremonies
Every day during solar noon a ceremonial sacrifice is conducted upon a platform projecting from the pyramid's third terrace. People of the Two Sun Clan gather in the central square of Pimaca to watch the high priests slay a sacred bull in ritual offering to Mazta. The few who have glimpsed the upper terraces of the temple speak of miraculous feats of ceremonial magic which the inner circle of Two Sun high priests demonstrate during secret ceremonies.
There are rumors of darker secrets as well. It is whispered that during their nightly vigils within the House of Shadows the priests of Ahriman conduct occult rituals involving bodily mortification and other sensual depravities. Some even say that human sacrifices are offered to the Black Sun during nocturnal rites intended to open passage to a spirit realm known as the Black Lodge. The priesthood vehemently denies these claims.
The Two Sun Clan is the dominant cultural group west of the Rift Mountains. The state of Pachuco may be larger and more populous, the trader clans of Silver Lake may be more wealthy, but the people of Two Suns control the divine Pyramid, the central religious site of every Zone culture, and thus they are the undisputed masters of the Deep Zone frontiers of the Old Ur-Zen Empire.
All Zoners yearn to make pilgrimage to the Two Sun Pyramid at least once in their lives. The Green River valley is dotted with waypoint settlements established to treat with pilgrims and the sacred precincts of Pimaca City itself are furnished with apartments and diversions to both accommodate and delight the faithful. The most popular time for worshipers to undertake the Two Sun pilgrimage is during the time of the summer solstice when the longest day of the year coincides with the height of Mazta's / Ormaz's power over the mortal realm.
Though the shrines and priests of Pimaca are universally venerated by Zoner travelers they are also viewed with suspicion. The strange miracles ascribed to the Two Sun priesthood in popular rumours suggest communion with powerful spirits. Among the superstitious, these powers are greatly to be feared.
Pyramid of Two Suns
- Piman'Touan, "Tower of Pima"
- To'Son Melor Cha, "The Great Temple of Two Suns"
- Temple / Religious Complex
- Two Sun Clan
- Huracan, Priest-King of the Sun Children
- Pimaca City