Zehir is the evil god of darkness, poison, and assassins. Snakes are his favored creation, and the yuan-ti revere him above all other gods, offering sacrifice to him in pits full of writhing serpents. The yuan-ti believe that Zehir created their race, but scholars disagree on this.
Zehir typically uses dreams and portents to encourage prospective murderers to carry out their homicidal impulses. A hissing voice heard only in sleep might urge the unwell to act on their most violent desires, even as poison and weapons unexpectedly find their way into a would-be killer’s hands. Zehir takes such a keen interest in killing because he devours the souls of anyone murdered in his name or with his assistance. No amount of murder or living sacrifice on the part of his followers can satisfy the Midnight Serpent’s insatiable hunger.
Zehir urges his followers thus:
- Hide under the cloak of night, that your deeds might be kept in secret.
- Kill in Zehir’s name and offer each murder as a sacrifice.
- Delight in poison, and surround yourself with snakes.
The worship of Zehir is generally outlawed in Deveneria and the Free Kingdoms, as is the case for most evil gods. In public, it is easy to repudiate Zehir’s murderous creed. Alone in the shadows, however, normally goodhearted people sometimes whisper desperate prayers to the god of darkness. As the lord of assassins, Zehir showers his blessings on those who kill; he does not care about a murderer’s motives or dwell on whether a victim’s fate is deserved. Some murmur that killers do not have to beg Zehir for his aid if they want him to take notice, because he knows when thoughts of murder creep into a person’s mind.
Zehir’s clerics are called Venomers and he draws many worshipers from the ranks of the yuan-ti due to his appreciation for snakes.
Zehir has no allies among his fellow gods, who accurately view him and his followers as dangerous and untrustworthy. Indeed, his last divine ally was the goddess Khala, slain by the Raven Queen. Zehir’s loyalty to the gods during the Dawn War was always in question, and many of his fellow deities suspect that he betrayed Io because he coveted that god’s draconic creations. That was not Zehir’s only act of deicide — his blood was used to slay his own daughter, the goddess of redemption, Nusemnee. Zehir forbids his followers from worshiping other gods, and those who are caught doing so become sacrifices to their erstwhile patron.
Zehir rules the mountains of Tytherion, the Endless Night, while Tiamat, Queen of Chromatic Dragons, rules the caverns below. Eons ago, after realizing that she could not defeat Bahamut, Tiamat decided to obtain her own realm and invaded Tytherion, hoping to unseat Zehir. She won a partial victory, but could not defeat him entirely. Zehir and his serpentine worshipers prefer the deep caverns, so she attacked those first. The result is the strange division of Tytherion today: Zehir and his serpents rule the mountains and fields, far above the depths in which they would prefer to crawl, while Tiamat and her dragons rule the underground caverns, far beneath the skies and mountains they prefer to fly through. It is possible that everybody in Tytherion would be happier with a simple trade, granting Tiamat the heights and Zehir the depths, but neither god will admit such a desire; their pride is too great. Tiamat wants all of Tytherion, while Zehir regards her as an interloper.