|“||When the shadows are long, that is my time. And you are the long shadow.||”|
–Zorya Vechernyaya to Shadow
Zorya Vechernyaya is one of the Old Gods, and comes from Slavic mythology. She represents the Evening Star, Mercury, and has two sisters, Zorya Utrennyaya (Morning Star) and Zorya Polunochnaya (Midnight Star).
Shadow and Wednesday arrive at an apartment in Chicago. Zorya Vechernyaya tells Wednesday that Czernobog, who is currently in a field killing a cow with a bolt pistol, will not be happy to see them. She brings them into the apartment and Wednesday presents her with the vodka, romance novels, and binoculars that Shadow picked up from the store. Zorya Vechernyaya downs the entire bottle of vodka before calling for Zorya Utrennyaya to come to the kitchen. She explains that their other sister, Zorya Polunochnaya, is asleep. Wednesday passes Zorya Utrennyaya the books and sets the binoculars down in front of Zorya Polunochnaya's door.
Zorya Utrennyaya makes coffee for Wednesday and Shadow and Zorya Vechernyaya offers to read Shadow's fortune. Shadow heads for the bathroom just as Czernobog returns home. He is not pleased to see Wednesday and throws a lamp at him. Wednesday offers him the cigarettes and herb Havarti but Czernobog still wants him to leave. Zorya Vechernyaya tells Czernobog she already invited them to dinner.
Shadow offers to help with the cooking but Zorya Vechernyaya refuses. She tells him they are all relatives who came over together a long time ago and that family is people you stick with even when you don't like them. Shadow gives Zorya Utrennyaya his empty coffee cup and Zorya Utrennyaya turns it upside down to read the coffee grinds. She whispers with Zorya Vechernyaya who lies to Shadow that he will have a happy life with many children. Shadow asks if there is any good news and she replies that his mother died of cancer but he won't.
From the living room, Czernobog becomes upset with Wednesday and raising his voice. Zorya Utrennyaya hurries in to shush him so he doesn't wake up Zorya Polunochnaya. Wednesday is trying to get Czernobog to come to the meeting because everyone else will be there and will think Czernobog is weak if he doesn't show. Czernobog tells Wednesday he wants his brother, Bielebog, not him.
They sit down to a terrible dinner of tough meat and soft potatoes, which Wednesday enthusiastically enjoys. Czernobog asks Shadow if he is Black. Where he is from, everyone is the same color so everyone fights over shades. Bielebog has light hair where Czernobog has black hair so everyone thought Bielebog was the good one and it turned Czernobog into the bad one. They are both gray now so there is no longer a way to tell who is light and who is dark.
Czernobog shares how they first arrived in New York and it wasn't so bad but then they came to Chicago and it's not so great. He had to get a job in the slaughterhouse and became a "knocker" on the killing floor. Zorya Vechernyaya opposes him telling cow killing stories at dinner but he continues anyway. He explains how it takes strength and skill to artfully kill a cow properly with a sledgehammer. If not done properly, the cow becomes angry and angry meat tastes bad. He complains about the ease of the bolt gun that makes it so anyone can kill cows now. He asks Shadow if he plays checkers and invites him to a checkers game after dinner and Shadow agrees.
Mr. Wednesday enters Zorya Vechernyaya's bedroom where she is getting ready for bed. He comments on how she has learned to live with less but she is deserving of better. He pours his coffee grounds onto his saucer and asks her to read his fortune. She tells him that whatever he is trying to do, he will lose. They go outside for a walk in the night and Zorya Vechernyaya warns Wednesday that what he is doing will kill him this time. He gives her a kiss to remind her of when they were young. Zorya Vechernyaya pulls away just as it starts raining and asks him angrily what he has done. Wednesday responds with "war."
Mr. Wednesday and Shadow arrive at an apartment in Chicago and meet Zorya Vechernyaya, a Russian Slav, outside her brownstone. She is on her way to buy groceries and Mr. Wednesday gives her an additional $40 to help feed him and Shadow. Mr. Wednesday and Shadow proceed to the apartment where Czernobog answers the door.
Later, Zorya Utrennyaya and Zorya Vechernyaya serve up dinner and then tell Mr. Wednesday and Shadow they can stay in their home. Mr. Wednesday pays Zorya Vechernyaya $45 for them to spend the night.
Shadow arrives in Chicago and is greeted at the brownstone by Zorya Utrennyaya who promptly tries to get him to leave again, telling him that he doesn't want to see Czernobog. They're in the middle of spring cleaning and Shadow helps Zorya Vechernyaya turn a mattress in Bielebog's room. They keep trying to get him to leave but he sits and waits for Czernobog to come back.
Physical appearance Edit
Zorya Vechernyaya is the first sister Shadow meets. She is described as a gaunt, old woman with a thick Eastern European accent and wears an "old red coat, buttoned up to the chin." She is birdlike with cold, thin hands and wears "a large amber ring on her middle finger."
Significance in mythology Edit
The Zorya sisters are based on two guardian goddesses of Slavic mythology. The two goddesses represent the Auroras, watching over the doomsday hound, Simargl. Zorja Utrennjaja is the Morning Star and associated with Venus while Zorja Vechernjaja is the Evening Star and associated with Mercury. A third sister is described in some versions of the myth, however, Zorya Polunochnaya was created specifically by Neil Gaiman for the novel.