Anne Zosimus (née Downing) is the sole surviving child of the Duke of Prynne, a small duchy in Apicarta. Her father sided with Prince Claudius during the War of Succession; at the end of the war, when Aldous came out victorious, he had the Duke and his sons executed, leaving Anne as the heir to her father's lands, title, and properties.

But Anne was not considered trustworthy, so Aldous had her imprisoned in the dungeon of her own home while the castle was used as a training ground for a new generation of knights. It was there that she met Balian Zosimus, whom she would eventually marry. Balian took pity on her and would bring her gifts of food, clothing, and other items she had been denied by her jailers. The two conversed often, with Balian telling her news of the outside world. As a result, when Anne emerged from the dungeons, she had retained her dignity and was not left in ignorance.

She presented herself to the court of King Aldous, where she endeared herself to Queen Laura, Balian's half-sister. Believing that it was a smart and convenient political match, Laura was happy to grant her permission to marry Balian. While the two were not necessarily in love with one another, they had a great respect for each other and their union served to protect them both and foster a highly beneficial alliance.

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