|“||Do you have any idea the power these criminals possess? Individually, they can take down any bender. Put them all together, they could take down the entire world.||„|
|~ Lord Zuko describing the criminals to a White Lotus sentry.|
The Red Lotus, also known as the Order of the Red Lotus, is an antagonistic faction founded by Xai Bau after the Hundred Year War, who broke off from the White Lotus after they came out of secrecy and openly served the Avatar as bodyguards and trainers. They believe in true freedom and the destruction of governments (like anarchists), and desire to undo the actions of Avatar Wan and have humans and spirits coexist once more. They are the true antagonists of Book 2 of Legend of Korra, and also the main antagonists of Book 3.
When news that Korra was the new Avatar spread, Unalaq planned to kidnap her to release Vaatu, presumably to create disorder. He sent Zaheer and his band out to abduct her, but they were stopped and imprisoned by Sokka, Zuko, Tenzin and others. Unalaq covered his involvement with the abduction and helped to imprison them, going on to follow his own ambitions by merging with Vaatu and become the Dark Avatar, which was never part of the original plan.
13 years later, after Harmonic Convergence, Zaheer discovers that he is an airbender, and his hope in achieving his goals is restored. He escapes prison and frees his friends, and planned to kidnap Korra once again. They also planned to kill the world's leaders. Once they succeeded in capturing Korra, they planned to poison her, which would trigger the Avatar State, which is when they would subsequently kill her, thus ending the Avatar cycle forever. They fail in their mission, however, and everyone except for Zaheer dies in the ensuing battle. Zaheer is instead incarcerated, no longer a feasible threat on his own. Even after the main members of the group are taken down, Zuko still thinks that there are other Red Lotus members out there.