Gavin Zosimus was an Apicartan nobleman. He ruled as Lord of Tyr from 171 to 177 AYZ. By his first wife Melissa, he fathered the future queen Laura Stirling, and by his second wife Naomi, Melanie and Balian Zosimus. He is the maternal grandfather of King Richard Stirling and Princess Eleanor Stirling.
A member of the Cult of Vormund in his youth, Gavin worked to protect fellow believers, distribute copies of the Mandorlin, and contributed religious writings on the history of the cult. He was also involved in international politics, particularly in Amarna.
During the War of Succession, he sided with Claudius after the prince promised to end persecution of Vormundists and to seek peace with the Exekians. Aldous took his betrayal personally, having been under the impression that Gavin was no longer tied to the Vormundists. He deliberately sought Gavin out during the Battle of Kirk's Bluff, and it is believed he personally slew the lord during combat.
Gavin is of average height and build, with wavy brown hair and deep-set dark eyes. He has a "kind" face, generally mild in its expressions and regular of features. He wears his age well.
Because of the baggage inherent in his legendary surname, he has always been very aware of the vultures and parasites which are drawn to his family's wealth and prestige. To counteract this, he endeavors to appear stoic and withdrawn at first impression. This of course is a defensive measure; he is afraid of being used and deceived by the few people he dares to put his faith in.
Unusually, Gavin has very high empathy. This ability to feel for others has led to him developing a strong sense of morality and a strict adherence to a set of principles. He tries to be a mediator in conflicts, as he is able to easily see both sides of an issue. But his strong sensitivity to pain and suffering will rapidly erode his emotional endurance, eventually leading to a breakdown.
His strongest motivation is his love for his family, particularly his children, and he will stop at nothing to protect and provide for them. His intense devotion is obvious to his enemies and can be easily exploited.
His cynicism isn't nearly as bad as it was in his youth, but it remains part of his nature. He is quick to pronounce failure and give up. His defeatist attitude has proven to be his greatest enemy, one which he has wrestled with all his life.
In conversation he is always polite and courteous, but as a result he sometimes comes across as boring and stuffy. He is eloquent and a man of letters, but laments that he frequently has nothing to say.
Gavin was the second-born son of Lord Hugh Zosimus and Lady Sibylla Andronikos, the presiding noble house in the city of Tyr. He was preceded by his brother Stephen, who was about two years older. Also living with the family was Hugh's widowed mother, Joan Zosimus, whom the children affectionately called "Grandmother Joan".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 Stephen as the heir to the family fortune, he was not raised to handle the responsibilities of inheriting his father's wealth.
Gavin's relationship with Stephen was friendly, marked by the usual sibling rivalry and mischief. The only time their relationship experienced significant strain was when, in a strange turn of events, Gavin hit his growth spurt early while his brother proved a late bloomer. For a period lasting about a year, observers who didn't know the birth order of the boys often mistakenly believed Gavin was the elder of the two, and other children mocked and bullied Stephen for being a "manlet". The disparity in size between them smoothed out eventually, and Stephen grew to be much taller than his brother in the end.
When Gavin was ten years old, his father committed suicide by drowning. Gavin was deeply affected by his death, sinking into a deep depression. When he emerged from this period of intense melancholy, he was a changed person. Gone was the boy who teased his brother and played harmless pranks. In his place was a cynical young man with nothing but contempt for the world.
As his tempestuous teenage years ticked by, the grown-up Gavin remained a pessimist prone to callous and selfish behavior. He stayed busy to avoid dwelling on the things that bothered him, and considered most people to be unworthy of his friendship or love.
This all changed when he met Melissa, a beautiful and charming woman who worked in the gardens at Isidore. Initially reluctant to pursue her, she won him over and he began to seek his mother's approval of their marriage.
But Stephen died suddenly, having been struck by lightning, and Gavin became 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.
Just Another BelieverIn 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. Rowan facilitated the birth, and failed to prevent Melissa from bleeding.
Upon their arrival, Hester tended to Melissa, whose condition worsened. She died that night of hemorrhaging. Gavin blamed Rowan for her death.
Changing FortunesGrieving, Gavin took Laura and Melissa's body to Arza Kell. 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 Clara Richter and went to Tyr, intending to confront his mother and reclaim his birthright.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.
However, the king intervened, splitting up his inheritance between himself and his cousin Lucan, who was pronounced the new Lord of Tyr.
Disbanding of the Cult
Before he could return to Arza Kell to collect his daughter, Rowan arrived with a blind child, Vincent, in tow. Rowan explained that Vormund, Drusus Rolfe, and Ethan had been arrested following the murder of Sophie Rolfe. Gavin agreed to take in Vincent as his ward and set about locating the others.
Learning that Vormund was being put on trial for heresy by the Temple, Gavin, Rowan, and Gavin's manservant Faulkner observed the court proceedings. The heresy trial was held under the Temple's jurisdiction and led by Selca Ducani, an Inquisitor. Shortly after the first day of the trial, they heard the news that Vormund had died in his cell.
Fearing for the lives of their friends and family at Arza Kell, Rowan, Faulkner, and Gavin rode to the caverns. They found the caves empty. On their way out, it was revealed that "Faulkner" was in fact a disguised Selca. Selca forced them to give up the Mandorlin manuscript, which he then destroyed by throwing it over the edge of the cliff. He left them alive out of pity for Gavin, allowing him to continue his search for Laura.
Camping for the night, Gavin had a vision sent by Kemet, assuring him that they were all right and Laura was safe. Realizing Laura was better off in their care than she would be in his own, Gavin resolved to return to Tyr and work to improve his situation before taking his daughter back.
Gavin used his wealth to bribe the jailers in Zemar, arranging for Drusus' release. Meeting with his old friend outside the prison, he found Drusus a bitter, angry shell of the man he had once been. Drusus suggested they take arms against the king, but Gavin refused. They parted ways.
Deprived of his birthright and half his wealth, Gavin remained a fixture at Isidore. He purchased a printing press and began writing under a pseudonym. Penning a biography of Vormund, he also secretly printed and distributed copies of the Mandorlin.
Then, in 166, Lucan tasked Gavin with marrying the foreign princess Naomi Cohilas. Lucan himself was a bachelor and childless; he entrusted Gavin with producing the next generation of the family.
Gavin arrived in the city of Amarna, where Princess Naomi lived with her sister Philomena, the city's ruler. Gavin began courting Naomi, and through her he learned of Selca's role in the death of Philomena's husband. He made the mistake of revealing his connection to Selca, and their conversation was overheard by the princess' spies.
As a result, Gavin was interrogated by Philomena. Gavin told her all that he could, but the princess was not satisfied and threw him in prison.
Three days later, Gavin was summoned back to the palace. Philomena claimed that, since Selca was "taken care of", Gavin could go free. But when Gavin pressed for more information, he realized the situation was not resolved. Philomena was attempting to hire a young common woman named Marena, whom she believed was a powerful magician capable of locating and capturing Selca. Gavin realized Marena was not who the princess thought she was, and attempted to shield the girl from Philomena's wrath.
When Marena disappeared suddenly, Gavin feared something grave had happened to her and convinced Naomi to help him escape. Defying her sister, Naomi had him smuggled to the city of Lydell, where she kept him under her protection.
A short time later, Gavin heard news that Selca had been captured and executed. He and Naomi attended the masquerade held by Philomena in celebration. At the party, Gavin was reunited with Rowan, who told him the truth - Selca was alive, as he had not actually killed Alastair. While the two were reminiscing, the resurrected Alastair appeared, back from the grave.
Philomena, Cyrus Spyridon, Naomi, and Gavin were left to deal with Alastair, who was furious and hellbent on punishing everyone who had "betrayed" him. He sentenced his wife to death and planned to marry Naomi instead; when Gavin objected to this, Alastair claimed he intended to make an alliance with Iskirra against Apicarta. Finally, as he was dictating his new orders to a secretary, Alastair was stabbed in the back by Selca. Philomena pardoned Selca for this crime at once out of gratitude.
Rowan then challenged Selca to a duel, intent on taking revenge for Vormund's death. Gavin advised against this, but Rowan was insistent. The battle commenced until Selca cheated, badly wounding Rowan. Marena and Ardath Dastagir came to his aid, and Gavin took the opportunity to distract the warlock, allowing Rowan to run Selca through with his sword.
Philomena was happy to ally Amarna with Apicarta, and gave Gavin and Naomi her blessing. The couple married and Gavin took his new bride with him back to Tyr. They went on to have two children, Melanie and Balian, securing the Zosimus family line. But Tristan remained ambivalent toward Gavin, and Lucan continued to berate his cousin over his irresponsible spending and other "bad habits".
Lucan died in 171 of a fever. Since he had no children, Gavin became the next Lord of Tyr, and this time the king didn't interfere.Seven years after he left her with Kemet and Clara, Gavin was finally able to reclaim Laura. Arranging a meeting in the town of Telovet, he saw his old friends for the last time. Giving them a copy of the Mandorlin printed in his own private press, Gavin took Laura with him and returned to Isidore, where he raised her alongside his other children.
Due to the growing persecution of "Vormundists", Gavin kept his religion private, but raised his family within the faith. For his continued efforts as a diplomat, he slowly gained the favor of King Tristan, who believed Gavin to be incorruptible as well as indispensable. But his quiet support of fellow Vormundists made him many enemies.
Assassination of the King and War of Succession
In 178, Tristan brought his two sons with him on a visit to Isidore. There, while they were feasting, Tristan was shot by a hidden assailant. Gavin chased after the assassin, only to recognize his old friend Drusus Rolfe. Stunned, he was unable to stop Drusus from killing himself. Tristan died of his wounds.The fact that the assassination occurred while the king was a guest in Gavin's home meant that Gavin, his family, and his household were under immediate suspicion. Gavin traveled to the capital to defend himself before the new king, Tristan's eldest son Aldous.During the proceedings, Prince Claudius, Aldous' younger brother, approached Gavin on the issue of challenging Aldous' right to the throne. Claudius and Gavin both agreed that Aldous was dangerous, citing his reputation for aggression and bloodlust and his calls for the total annihilation of the Exekians.
Gavin resumed a secret correspondence with Kemet 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. These letters were kept hidden in a vault, which only Gavin's daughter Laura had access to. The vault was destroyed after Gavin's death.
In the War of Succession, Gavin sided with Claudius Stirling. After bidding goodbye to his family, Gavin joined the rebel army. During a pivotal battle, he threw himself in the way of Aldous' sword, saving Claudius at the cost of his own life.
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".