The mystery of how an infant child was found in the wilderness outside Magnimar, alone and unclothed, yet unmolested by the local wildlife, is a mystery which will likely never be explained.
A travelling merchant of some renown, and his contingent of hired guards came across the child, bearing a strange birthmark in the shape of a leaf on his chest. The merchant being a ruthless, spiteful man saw no coin in caring for a child or searching for his parents, despite Magnimar being their next destination and only half a day away.
Luckily the decision was removed from his hand by the leader of the hired guards, a fierce warrior named Sabine, who insisted the child be taken to town.
And so it was the child was taken to Magnimar and lodged at one of the towns orphanages. Sabine had named the child Gavroche after her cousin. Sabine and her loyal warriors donated a portion of their wages to ensure the child was accepted in to the orphanage, each departing with clear conscience once their good deed was complete.
Magnimar like many cities had an abundance of orphans and whilst a chosen few were paced with local families, many were not. Gavroche did not appear to have luck on his side, and as he grew the orphanage appeared to shrink until at (approximately) age 8 he decided to make how own way in the world. One of the older boys claimed he had a way to make some of his own money and late one night Gavroche stole away with 2 of his friends.
They fell in to ‘paid’ employment easily enough with one of the local street gangs. The pay was in food to eat and a mat to sleep on in a small abandoned warehouse near the docs. The gang was ‘sponsored’ by a heartless, evil man named Finnegan who arranged the sale of items stolen by the boys (taking a hefty cut in the process). It was rumoured he had connections with the local Sczarni, and he saw the boys as little more than tools to use for his own benefit and advancement. He enjoyed beating the boys at the slightest provocation, and cared little when the odd boy was taken by the guards. It was cold, dirty work keeping lookout for local pick pockets and running interference with the town guard. Many a guard heard the story of how ‘Little Gav’ lost his mummy and daddy, buying precious minutes for the gang boys to slip away from the guards.
By the age of 10 Gav was starting to show signs of the man he would become. Taller and strong than the other boys, he had started to assist their Sponsor in enforcing breaches of their territory by other ambitious gangs. Using threats, intimidation and the occasional beating, they held their territory with an iron grip.
Everything changed one fateful day soon after Gavroche’s 10th birthday (in reality the 9th anniversary since he was originally discovered in the wilderness). Gavroche was in a secluded alleyway with Finnegan ‘convincing’ a rival gang member to stay away from his territory when it happened a passing guard decided to relive himself in the very same alleyway. The guard immediately spotted all 3 and gave chase, the other gang member skittering down a side passage as the guard stayed on Gavroche and Finnegan. As fast as he was, he was no match for Finnegan who surged ahead. The guard kept pace with them and Gavroche saw his salvation – a gated section of the alleyway, door hanging ajar. Finnegan had the same idea and headed for the gate, pulling a lock from one of his pockets.
Then, to Gavroche’s horror, Finnegan darted through the gate, slamming it shut before he could get through and locking it behind him. With nowhere to go, the guard tackled him to the ground and dragged him to the local guardhouse.
Justice in Magnimar is swift, and with no family or friends to vouch for him, the magistrate was quick to issue his judgement. At his age Gavroche was old enough to be sent to the adult prison or one of the chain gangs to work off his sentence, but for some strange reason, the magistrate (a devoutly religious man, who revered Iomedae) uncharacteristically gave Gavroche a choice between being sent to prison, or serving his term in service at a local temple. Gav figured he could play along and steal away later if necessary, so decided the temple option was the best choice.
Gav was taken to the local temple of Iomedae with a letter from the magistrate bearing the official seal of Magnimar being presented to the head priest along with Gav. At first the head priest was unsure of what to do with Gav as this situation had not happened before! As the guard related the magistrate’s decision and presented the letter, the priest seemed to relax and accept this arrangement. Gav was ushered in to the priest’s office and they spoke about his background, the priest asking questions here and there. After an hour he sent Gav to get cleaned up in the temple baths, advising Gav he would find something for him to do on the morrow.
Gav scouted the temple grounds that night, but to his dismay the compound served as a training ground for the holy knights of Iomedae who exercised military precision in guarding the temple. Escaping would not be an easy task.
The next day he was set to work, scrubbing dishes and cleaning the buildings. Later in the week he was asked to sweep out the main church building in preparation for the following days service. The priests seemed to be too trusting as they ushered him in to the main church building with his broom and dustpan. Upon entering the church, even Gav could appreciate the beauty of the place. Marble statues and stained glass windows exuded a holy ambiance. Gav started at the back and as he worked his way up to the front, he felt a strange pull in side his chest, urging him toward the altar. He dropped his broom and approached the altar, but it was not the altar that caught his eye in the end. Behind the altar was a majestic statue of a woman in full plate armour holding a sword, prepared for battle. Gav was spellbound at the sight of her beauty and the strength portrayed in the marble statue. Surely the work of a master craftsman, the statue appeared about to move it was so lifelike. As he approached Gav held out a tentative hand and slowly reached for the base of the statue. As his hands touched the plated greaves he heard a gentle whisper drift past, as if carried by the wind, in the form of a single word; ‘Justice’.
Like gravel on glass, jarring against the silence of the church, a rough voice startled Gav from the pews ‘Our lady is majestic and beautiful. Don’t you think?’
Gav spun on his heel to see a middle-aged man kneeling near the altar, also in plate armour.
But he wasn’t there a moment ago was he?
The man smiled at Gav, ‘how long do you think you have been in here?’
‘Maybe 30 minutes’
The man chuckled ‘No my friend, you have been here 2 hours. The head priest asked me to check in on you. You are stronger than you look you know?’
Gav glanced at his arms, but the man continued, ‘no, no…not there’, he approached and pointed to Gav’s chest, ‘in there’.
The man introduced himself as Gareth, who oversaw the training of paladins in service to Iomedae. They spoke for several more hours as the full realisation of what happened slowly dawned on him. He had been called by Iomedae! That night he pledged his heart and body in the service of Iomedae. The sentence that had brought him here held no meaning as he pledged to serve for the term of his life.
It took 2 more years of cleaning and serving in the church before he was accepted in to the martial branch of the temple and began his training as a holy warrior.
5 years after that he completed his training, both martial and theological, and was consecrated in service to Iomedae.
Gav was posted to the Worldwound to battle the demon hordes and support the troops with healing and ministry. He fought with his brothers and proved his worth on the field of battle, and in the care of those injured in battle. He both saved lives and was saved by his brothers numerous times. He was tested and the calling he had heard years earlier was found to be true.
Near the end of his service at the Worldwound Gav was tending to the injured when he came across a mortally wounded man he had not seen before, and who was not armoured for battle. He seemed to radiate holy power, but it was unlike anything Gav had experienced before. Gav spent time with the man talking to him and making him comfortable, but could not understand the strange power this man had. It was clear this man had mere hours left on the earth and as him time drew near, the man reached out and grasped Gav’s arm. In his final seconds of life his eyes rolled back in to his head and the man’s voice became clear and strong as he said ‘Servant of Iomedae, know the mysteries and secrets of life. Forever they will mark you. Use this power in service of your mistress. Protect and defend those in your charge’. The leaf shaped birthmark burned painfully in Gav’s chest as he felt a surge of power flow in to him. Gav fell to the ground and as his companions came to his aid he tried to tell them he was ok, but another language flowed out of his mouth! Later he recovered his speech and one of the healing priests told Gav he had been speaking perfect celestial, a language he had not previously learned or heard. Strange.
After serving and surviving for 5 years he was eventually called back to Magnimar. It seemed Gareth was ready to retire and had already picked his replacement. Gav spent another 10 years overseeing the paladin training program. After his service at the Worldwound he adjusted to service in civilisation and became known for being not only just and virtuous, but kind and merciful too. Never forgetting his criminal past, he was convinced that the path of good and law was the path to true fulfilment.
Now 33 years of age, Gav has an important role in training warriors in service to Iomedae, but he is also an active participant in the daily rituals and ceremonies of the temple, including the weekly church services. Whist the high priest in Magnimar is responsible for the clergy, Gavroche has full responsibility for the martial servants of Iomedae. Despite this, Gavroche is devout as he is strong maintaining a personal commitment to daily prayer and participation in religious ceremonies that put some of the priests to shame.
Gav has been administering the program for quite some time now and is ready to become more involved in the community, spreading the word of Iomedae and making a difference in the lives of people outside of the church. He has recently gown tired of being essentially an administrator (although he has kept up his military discipline) and wants to get back in to a more active role in service to the church and Iomedae.