Zaheer is the leader of the Red Lotus , a martial arts expert, and an anarchist, who strongly believes in the foundation of a new world without the Order of the White Lotus , the four nations , or the Avatar.
While in pursuit of his goals, Zaheer and three of his comrades were captured and imprisoned in separate, high-security prisons. Upon becoming an airbender thirteen years later, he escaped the custody of the Order of the White Lotus and subsequently freed his allies from prison, including his girlfriend P'Li. This attempt failed and Zaheer's comrades were killed, leaving him as the only survivor of their group of four.
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Following his defeat, Zaheer was once again imprisoned, this time in a new facility near Republic City. To his disappointment, he heard of Kuvira placing the people of the Earth Kingdom under her military dictatorship, thus rendering his attempt to free them from oppression futile. Hoping Korra could stop her, Zaheer helped Korra in AG to meditate into the Spirit World and let go of her fear of him and of "what might have been".
Zaheer joined the Red Lotus as a teenager and learned about Raava and Vaatu , and Avatar Wan 's decision to separate them, which he believed disrupted the world's balance.
During his youth, he met a young firebender named P'Li, whom he saved from the clutches of a warlord intending to make her his personal assassin.
Following this, Zaheer convinced P'Li to join the ranks of the Red Lotus, and the two eventually formed a romantic relationship. Although Unalaq ultimately did not go through with the attempted abduction and remained undiscovered,  Zaheer, Ghazan , P'Li, and Ming-Hua went on with his plan, though were defeated and imprisoned by Tenzin , Tonraq , Zuko , and Sokka. Despite being subjected to relentless interrogation, Zaheer and his associates refused to speak of their motives at any point.
Surprising his guards with his new airbending abilities, Zaheer managed to overpower them and escape his prison.
Following Harmonic Convergence , Zaheer discovered he had become an airbender just when he started to lose hope. Two weeks after Harmonic Convergence ended, he took advantage of his newfound abilities and waited to attempt his escape until his guards came to bring him his bowl of rice. With the metal covering of his cell door open, he was ordered to face the wall with his hands upon his head.
As his food was being placed in his cell through an opening in the bars, Zaheer recited one of Laghima's poem verses and after explaining the meaning of the writing, he used his airbending to pull one guard against the cell bars, where he restrained him, effectively preventing the others from attacking lest they killed that guard. He opened his cell door with the keys taken from the guard's waist and used his airbending to defeat and jail all of the other guards.
Zaheer cautioned them to ration the bowl of rice they had brought him, as the next shift change was three weeks away, and announced the dawn of a new age, one in which there would be no Order of the White Lotus or Avatar. Using his airbending skills, he swiftly made his way down the mountain, seeking to liberate his incarcerated comrades. Zaheer and Ghazan reunited after thirteen years of imprisonment and resolved to free Ming-Hua and P'Li.
Zaheer managed to disguise himself as a White Lotus member and stole a speedboat , which he used to make his way to Ghazan's prison.
There, he fought off White Lotus sentries and supplied his friend with a few rocks to help him escape. After Ghazan used his lavabending to release himself from his cell and dispatched the remaining guards, the two friends heartily greeted each other. Upon asked how he became an airbender, Zaheer explained that he believed it was a gift, bestowed upon him after Harmonic Convergence, to indicate that their path was the righteous one.
Afterward, the duo journeyed to the volcano in which Ming-Hua's prison was located, intent on freeing her. Once they were within range of the waterbender 's cage, Zaheer sliced the barrel of water that Ghazan had thrown in the air in half, enabling Ming-Hua to utilize it to escape.
After the trio took care of the remaining sentries, Zaheer announced that they would head to the Northern Water Tribe in order to free P'Li. As they neared P'Li's prison, Zaheer created a snow storm to mask their approach before engaging in battle with Tonraq. The new airbender evaded all of the chief 's attacks, before knocking him down with an air blast. After P'Li was freed by Ming-Hua, the four criminals made a clean getaway. Happy to see each other again, Zaheer and P'Li embraced, the airbender saying he never doubted he would see her again, before sharing a passionate kiss.
After navigating the airbending gates with ease, Zaheer bowed to Meelo as a sign of respect for his teacher. Following the escape, Zaheer shaved his head and facial hair and made his way to Air Temple Island under the pseudonym "Yorru". He explained to Ikki and Meelo that he had heard about the island being a sanctuary for airbenders, demonstrating his newly discovered abilities by creating a small tornado in his hand.
Zaheer subsequently joined the airbending training with Meelo at the spinning gates, where he passed through them with ease, surprising everyone. Earning the compliment of being a leaf from Meelo, Zaheer returned the courtesy by bowing respectfully toward the child, saying that a student was only as good as his master. When Kya announced that they would leave the following day to join Tenzin at the Northern Air Temple , Zaheer asked if the Avatar was with him. Learning she had split from Tenzin, he took the news as "unfortunate", as he had been "looking forward to meeting her".
Zaheer lectured Ikki about the teachings of Guru Laghima after being discovered by the young airbender in Tenzin 's study. That night, Zaheer wandered into Tenzin's study, where he found a locket containing a poem written by Guru Laghima. He was interrupted by Ikki, who stated that no one but her father was allowed in the study.
Zaheer apologized, stating he could not sleep, and when asked by the young airbender what he was reading, he explained that it was a poem of Laghima, whom he credited as the wisest airbender to have ever lived. Their conversation was cut short by the arrival of Kya, who told her niece to go back to bed, before questioning Zaheer about his knowledge of airbending history. He replied that he had always admired the culture, though Kya recognized him and attacked.
Zaheer grabbed an airbender staff and used it to shatter the ice bullets aimed at him before bending himself out of the window and gliding away. His escape was short lived, however, as Kya managed to catch him with a water tentacle and slam him down in the temple's pond.
Recovering, Zaheer managed to avoid being frozen and blasted Kya back, though before he could escape, two firebending White Lotus sentries arrived. By the time he had done away with them, Kya was back on her feet attacked him with spirals of water.
Ducking away, the airbender retaliated with a strong current of air, knocking Kya out cold against a wall, and escaped on the glider.
Zaheer and the Red Lotus plotted their escape from Republic City. When asked by Ghazan if he wanted to try to take out President Raiko , Zaheer stated they would deal with him later as they were leaving the city. Hijacking a truck and forcing the driver to smuggle them out of the city, they made it as far as at a security checkpoint on a bridge, where they were discovered after their driver ran away.
As one of the police officers turned the handle on the back doors of the vehicle, Zaheer blasted them open to keep the police back, while Ming-Hua drove away, with Ghazan and P'Li taking care of their pursuers. Taking refuge in a forest, Zaheer meditated and determined that the Avatar was with the Metal Clan in Zaofu. Zaheer initially managed to kidnap Korra , though they were discovered and eventually forced to leave without the Avatar.
Zaheer and his gang traveled to the metal city and, with the help of Aiwei, were able to enter Suyin Beifong 's estate without being noticed. Having cut an opening in the window to Korra's room, they were caught by Naga , who tried to attack.
Although Ming-Hua bent three shirshu-spit darts into the polar bear dog to quiet her, Korra awoke to the sound of Naga falling and attacked, prompting Zaheer to quickly bend another paralyzing dart at her as well. With the Avatar in tow, the group began to escape, but ended up boxed in by metal plates in the estate's courtyard after Mako and Bolin alerted the Metal Clan to their presence.
After Ghazan created a lava moat, melting the plates and creating a distance between the two groups, Zaheer attempted to use the smoke coming from the moat to create some cover by spinning his staff over his head. However, this motion enabled one of the guards to reel him in with a metal cable. Although he managed to free himself, he was forced to take on two metalbenders. When he noticed that Suyin and Lin Beifong had managed to save Korra, he attempted to pursue, though found himself grounded after Suyin pierced the wings of his glider with four metal arrows.
Landing near his friends, he angrily declared their mission a failure and used the smoke to cover their retreat. Zaheer and his companions made camp in a cave located at the outskirts of the Misty Palms Oasis , where he meditated into the Spirit World at sundown to meet Aiwei at Xai Bau's Grove. He blamed the truth seer for the Red Lotus' failure at Zaofu and the fact that they had now been compromised. Although Aiwei assured him that all incriminating evidence had been destroyed, Zaheer labeled Aiwei to be a loose end himself.
As he grabbed him, Zaheer noticed Korra's presence, though before the Avatar could do something, the airbender teleported to the Fog of Lost Souls , where he condemned the truth seer to an eternity in the mental prison.
Returning to Xai Bau's Grove, he learned that Korra had tracked him down by following Aiwei and offered her a chance to talk and find some answers.
He revealed that he and his companions were members of the Red Lotus and told the Avatar of the organization's origin and purpose.
Meanwhile, in the physical world, he secretly revealed Korra's location at the Misty Palms Inn to his associates, who were guarding his body. Zaheer distracted Korra by giving her the option to have an open conversation, resulting in a talk about the origin and goals of the Red Lotus.
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In the Spirit World, Zaheer kept the conversation with Korra going by elaborating on Unalaq's idea to kidnap her as a child, which was meant to bring balance to the world as she would have been used to re-open the spirit portals and release Vaatu.
Rebuffing Korra's statement that they had different ideas of balance, Zaheer suggested that opening the spirit portals should only be the beginning, as the idea of separating the world in nations and governments was as foolish as separating the human from the spirit realm.
He pointed out that she had already had to deal with a " moronic president " and a " tyrannical queen " and reminded the doubtful Avatar that it had been the Fire Lord 's ambition for world dominance that had led to the Air Nomad Genocide.
Stating the natural order to be disorder, he believed that true freedom could only be achieved when oppressive governments were dismantled and cited another one of Guru Laghima's sayings to emphasize his point: "New growth cannot exist without first the destruction of the old.
He warned Korra that once change began, it could not be stopped. At her request to know what would happen if she was captured, he merely told her she would have her answer soon enough, assuming his accomplices to have captured her body by that point, and vanished.
Upon his return to the physical world, Zaheer was informed by Ming-Hua and Ghazan that Earth Queen Hou-Ting's army had gotten to the Avatar first, though that they had managed to capture Mako and Bolin. Zaheer instructed them to load the brothers in the truck, telling them they were going to Ba Sing Se.
Upon gaining an audience with Earth Queen Hou-Ting, Zaheer assured her they wanted no bounty and that the brothers were merely a "thank you" gift for her taking time to talk to them. Zaheer used the location of the "stolen" airbenders as a bargaining chip to trade with the Queen for Korra, as he reasoned that that if she were to imprison the Avatar, she would invoke the wrath of the other nations, whereas if she handed Korra over to him, no one needed to know and she would still be rid of the Avatar while being able to get her airbenders back with no interference.
With a deal having been reached, the four were escorted to an antechamber by Grand Secretariat Gun. As the group relaxed, Zaheer noticed a Dai Li agent moving rapidly toward the queen's throne room.
Intrigued, he used his airbending to secretly follow him and he overheard the agent telling Hou-Ting that the airship transporting Korra had crashed in the Si Wong Desert. Relaying the information to the others upon his return, it became clear that they would not be able to get to Korra before the Queen and Zaheer decided that he was through chasing her, declaring that it was time to make Korra come to them. Zaheer blasted open the doors to the throne room and told the queen of their disappointment regarding the news on Korra.
Deeming their eavesdropping actions to be punishable with imprisonment, the Red Lotus was offered the chance to evade arrest if they would give up the location of the airbenders. When Zaheer warned her that was not the deal, a fight ensued between them and the Dai Li, who were ordered to imprison them all.
After the group easily defeated the earthbenders , Zaheer confronted the now defenseless queen. Stating he did not believe in queens, he used his airbending to pull the air from her lungs.
While suffocating her in a sphere devoid of air, he told her that freedom was not something she could give or take on a whim, but that is was just as essential as air to her people and that without it, there was no life, only darkness. He emphasized his words by using his airbending to suck the breath from the Queen's lungs, asphyxiating her. After murdering Hou-Ting , Zaheer proceeded to announce via radio that he had done so.
With the queen murdered, Zaheer, Ming-Hua, and P'Li went to the city's radio control room, asking the operator how he could make an announcement to the city. As the man did not immediately cooperate, Ming-Hua grabbed him with a water tendril, prompting Zaheer to tell her to let go, as their goal was to help citizens like him. After the operator turned on the radio, Zaheer told the citizens that he and other revolutionaries had brought down the queen.
Without revealing his identity, he simply told the people he was returning the city in their hands, as he believed they had no need for leaders telling them what to do and were free to find their own path.