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

Biography

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A young Gavin.

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's castle, 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 fourteen, his mother committed suicide by drowning, apparently driven to despair by her loveless marriage and opulent but empty lifestyle. Gavin was deeply affected by her death, and had recurring nightmares of the incident for years after.

As a young man, Gavin fell in love with Melissa, a beautiful and charming woman who worked in the castle gardens. Initially reluctant to pursue a long-term relationship, she won him over and he began to seek his father'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. Left with little option 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, 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 aunt 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.

Upon their arrival, they were taken in by Rowan's family, a poor farming couple. Rowan's aunt tended to Melissa, whose condition was such that she couldn't leave for two weeks after the birth. The couple agreed to stay with the Renards while the others left for Arza Kell, stipulating they would follow as soon as Melissa and Laura were well enough to travel.

Changing Fortunes

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Gavin regained his inheritance before his father died, but at a cost.

While staying with the Renards, Gavin antagonized their eldest son Kurt over politics. Kurt grabbed a pamphlet detailing news from around the country as evidence during an argument, pointing out a story about King Tristan having imprisoned his mother, but Gavin noticed a different article. According to the news, Gavin's father was on his deathbed and planning to change his will, leaving his vast estate to a distant relative.

Five days after giving birth, Melissa died of childbed fever. Grieving and fearing his family's fortune was in jeopardy, Gavin took Laura and Melissa's body to Arza Kell at once, arriving a week earlier than expected. He stayed long enough to bury his wife, then left Laura in the care of Kemet and Sophia Richter and rode on to Tyr, intending to confront his father and stop the will from being changed.

He arrived in Tyr and was let into Isidore. His dying father informed him that he was not only to be disinherited, but disowned, rendering him as penniless as a bastard. However, the distant relative who was supposed to supersede Gavin never showed up. Gavin more or less wore down his father, guilting him into writing him back into the will. Seeing that Melissa had died, Lord Hugh agreed, going to his grave believing his son had no children with Melissa.

Gavin returned to Arza Kell to collect his child. As they prepared to depart, Rowan and the believers from Hiberia returned bearing dire news: Vormund, Drusus Rolfe, and Ethan had been arrested.

Unbeknownst to them, the group had been followed. Armed men ambushed them when they exited the caves, and everyone ran in different directions to escape. In the chaos, the group split up and lost contact with each other. Gavin was ignored by the agents, but he witnessed the death of Josh, and convinced Rowan and Marena to leave with Josh's son, provided their lives would be spared. Gavin also permitted Kemet and Sophia to escape on one of his sigloi.

Gavin attempted to use his power and wealth to influence the outcome of Vormund's trial, to little avail. He also arranged for the safe passage of Kemet and Sophia to Exekia, and even escorted them to the Antoi river himself. He also "rescued" Rowan from his sister, providing him with the means to escape to Kataru and a new, professional copy of the Mandorlin. The two never saw each other alive again.
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Gavin Zosimus kneels on one knee before Tristan Stirling. His wife Melissa 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. 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

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.
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Gavin bidding his wife Ilena farewell before going to war.

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.

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.