Boren Hextall has served House Wyl (a minor house sworn to House Martell) his entire adult life. Beginning as a squire, rising through the ranks to become a knight of some reputation. A stolid man and doughty fighter, Boren had an easy way with the men under his command but no mind for grand strategy.
Raised to a knight before retiring from service, Boren was awarded lands north of the Dornish desert wastes. Boren had little interest in managing a farm or raising cattle, and his beloved wife Rosemayre? handled the family accounts while also raising two healthy children (a son, Sander Hextall, and his younger sister Johanne Hextall).
When Rosemayre died in childbirth, Boren Hextall died in all but his physical body. He spent little time with his youngest son, Byron Hextall, and his lands and business slowly withered from lack of Rosemayre's gifted stewardship.
When called back into service by House Wyl to quell what was quickly amounting to a rebellion by a coalition of desert nomads, Boren strapped on his armour as a prelude to death. He would not take his own life, no matter how deep his despair he knew Rosemayre was a religious woman and suicide was a mortal sin to her gods. She would not welcome him in the afterlife if he arrived a sinner. But to die in battle at the hands of a worthy enemy, there was no sin in that.
In the sandy dornish, and the joy of battle, Boren returned to life. The nomads were a wily foe, quick to ambush and harry lines of supply. But they were not cowards, the nomads would stand and fight against Boren and the knights in his service. Lightly armored, quick and skilled, the nomads would whirl about the knights in their heavy plate. Whips snapping out to break a leg or shoulder, spear points seeking the chinks between the plates. A nomad warrior could kill three House Wyl soldiers before being overwhelmed or struck down.
Boren was no general, no clever battlefield plans or overarching strategy. Find them, fight them, beat them. But with a knight's honour. In his heart, in a way he could not express in the crudely drafted reports he supplied to his superior at House Wyl, he knew that to truly beat the nomad and remove the threat, the sandy dornish would not just have to bend the knee. They must bend the knee willingly, out of respect, and rise a true partner of House Wyl.
But progress was slow, months dragged into months with no tangible results. After more than a year, House Wyl issued new directions. The nomads would be exterminated like vermin: poison water supplies, salt the earth, eliminate the children that would grow to warriors, eliminate the women that would birth the children.
Boren Hextall had served House Wyl his entire adult life. He knew he was a doughty fighter and had an easy way with the men, but no mind for strategy. He was a knight sworn,and a knight would do his duty. No matter how foul, he trusted that his masters knew best.But every time he lifted his hand as a butcher and not a soldier, another small piece of him died.
The nomads were broken, they bent the knee. Out of desperation and fear. Boren knew that there would be no lasting peace. No one could respect an opponent that won victory through violation.
As a reward, House Wyl provided Boren with a new bride of the sandy dornish. And greater lands, with taxes paid by his former enemies. Bitter, broken, and set to govern a people that considered him a monster. A people he had come to respect.
Boren fufilled his obligations as a husband, his new wife Jayelle was well provided and secure. He fathered a son, Alexander Hex Hextall, who grew to be as dark as his mother. Every time Boren looked to Alexander, he saw the enemy he had broken on the field. Every time the father looked to the son, he felt shame.
Boren withdrew from his other children, as they withdrew from him. He spent little time with Alexander, save to drill the knightly code into the boy's head while he was sober. And to curse the hypocrisy and cruelty of a life in service while drunk. When Jayelle suggested fostering Alexander and his cousin Rhys to the sandy dornish, Boren readily agreed.
Perhaps his enemy could raise his son to be the man Boren wished himself he was.