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Gavin Zosimus was the high lord of Tyr. By his wife Melissa, he fathered the future queen Laura Stirling, and by his second wife Ilena, Galahad Zosimus. He is the maternal grandfather of King Richard Stirling and Princess Eleanor Stirling.

Biography

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A young Gavin.

Childhood

Gavin was the second-born son of Lord Hugh Zosimus and Lady Sibylla Andronikos, the presiding noble house in the city of Tyr. The Zosimus family was well known for their great wealth, gained from the vastly successful Tyran trade. Gavin was raised in the lap of luxury, living a sheltered life at the family estate, Isidore. With his elder brother Stephen as the heir to the family fortune, he was not raised to expect the responsibilities of inheriting his father's wealth.

When he was ten, his father committed suicide by drowning, apparently driven to despair by his opulent but empty lifestyle. Gavin was deeply affected by his death, and lacked a proper father figure during his adolescent years.

A Cynical Young Man

By the time he reached adulthood, Gavin had become a rakish cynic, prone to overindulgence and carelessness. He was following in the footsteps of his father and he knew it, but saw no reason to halt his degeneration.

This all changed when he met and fell in love with Melissa, a beautiful and charming woman who worked in the gardens. Initially reluctant to pursue a long-term relationship, she won him over and he began to seek his mother's approval of their marriage.

However, Stephen died unexpectedly in an accident, making Gavin the heir to Tyr. At that point Melissa was already pregnant. Unwilling to abandon her and unprepared to assume the responsibilities of running the family business, Gavin eloped with Melissa, fleeing to the west.

Gradually they ran out of money and were reduced to poverty and homelessness. Stranded in Rhinehart, they slept on a street corner with rags as blankets. One day they overheard Vormund preaching and approached him. Upon learning of their unfortunate circumstances, Vormund agreed at once to take them under his wing.

Gavin and Melissa converted to Vormundism and lived in the caves of Arza Kell with Vormund's other disciples. The young lord befriended the Exekian Kemet, who would later be named godfather to his children.
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Gavin upon arriving at the cave.

Just Another Believer

In Bodai, a misunderstanding (or more likely, a conspiracy) led to the local authorities ordering the expulsion of the cult from the city. It couldn't have happened at a more inopportune time - Melissa had gone into labor.

The followers of Vormund were thrown out just before nightfall, including a prospective disciple named Rowan Renard, who was adamant he get to meet the prophet. Rowan told them his mother Hester was a midwife who lived only a couple of miles away, and they set out for her house. Before they reached her, Melissa gave birth to a daughter, Laura, on the side of the road.

Upon their arrival, Hester tended to Melissa, whose condition worsened. She died that night of hemorrhaging.

Changing Fortunes

Grieving, Gavin took Laura and Melissa's body to Arza Kell at once. He stayed long enough to bury his wife, but was forced to leave not long after due to news of his mother's illness. He left Laura in the care of Kemet and Sophia Richter and rode on to Tyr, intending to confront his mother and reclaim his birthright.
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Gavin at the cremation of his mother's body.

He arrived in Tyr and was let into Isidore. Seeing that Melissa had died, Lady Sibylla agreed to make him her heir again, going to her grave believing her son had no children with Melissa.

Lord of Tyr

Before he could return to Arza Kell to collect his child, Rowan arrived with a blind child, Vincent, in tow. Rowan explained that Vormund, Drusus Rolfe, and Ethan had been arrested following the murder of Clara Rolfe, and the cult had disbanded. Gavin agreed to take in Vincent as his ward.

Accompanied by his manservant Faulkner, Gavin rode to Arza Kell with Rowan. They found the caves empty. Camping for the night nearby, Gavin awoke from a dream sent by Kemet. He and Rowan traveled to the location in the dream and found Kemet, Sophia, and Laura in hiding. Gavin took Laura back and gave Kemet and Sophia one of his sigloi to help them escape. He escorted Rowan to the nearest train station and bid him farewell. The two never saw each other alive again.

Gavin attempted to use his power and wealth to influence the outcome of Vormund's trial, to little avail. Ethan was hanged and Vormund died in prison, but Drusus was alive. Gavin arranged for his release, but found Drusus a bitter, angry shell of the man he had once been. They parted ways.
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Gavin Zosimus kneels on one knee before Tristan Stirling. His wife Ilena can be seen in the background.

After returning to Tyr, Gavin set himself up as the new high lord and formally presented himself to the king. He legitimized his daughter and remarried a noblewoman, Lady Ilena. The couple went on to have a son, Galahad.

Due to the persecution of "Vormundists", Gavin kept his religion private, but raised his children within the faith. Penning a biography of Vormund, he also secretly printed and distributed copies of the Mandorlin, as well as a written account of the Cult of Vormund's history and a collection of Vormund's prophecies (written in obscure verse to protect the identities of those involved). He became a favorite of King Tristan, who described Gavin as "incorruptible", but his quiet support of fellow cult members made him many enemies.

Assassination of the King and War of Succession

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Gavin bidding his wife Ilena farewell before going to war.

When Tristan was assassinated, Gavin defended the royal family and Castle Vallon from the ensuing attack. He recognized the leader of the onslaught as his old friend Drusus Rolfe, but dutifully slew him in combat. Gavin then followed his wife to a locked room, where she was tending to the wounded king along with Princess Helen. He was present to hear Tristan's last words, and the king gave Gavin his sword before dying.

After Aldous was crowned, Prince Claudius approached Gavin on the issue of challenging Aldous' right to the throne. Claudius and Gavin both agreed that Aldous was dangerous, citing his call for the total annihilation of the Exekians.

Gavin resumed a secret correspondence with Kemet, whom he had not seen in fifteen years, to discuss the possibility of an alliance between the Exekians and Claudius' forces in order to overthrow Aldous. Kemet revealed the sorry state of the Exekian people, but assured him they would not interfere in the conflict.

Gavin

In the War of Succession, Gavin sided with Claudius Stirling. After bidding goodbye to his family, Gavin joined the rebel army. During the Battle of Duat, he threw himself in the way of Aldous' sword, saving Claudius at the cost of his own life.

After his death, Aldous took the Zosimus family captive and eventually married Gavin's daughter Laura. Gavin himself became a highly controversial figure, revered by the Vormundists but scorned by others.

Trivia

Gavin was named after Gavin de Granville, a character in the de Granville series by K.M. Grant.

The name Zosimus means "viable" or "most likely to survive".

Gavin was inspired by legends of chivalric knights, particularly Lancelot, King Arthur, El Cid, and Roland.