Obara Sand dislikes most men as a rule, because she despises how they behave towards women. Her uncle expects Arianne to behave as a lady, her father expects her and her sisters to rebel just because he is their father, the septons expect her to wear gowns, the lordlings who drift about Sunspear expect her to be grateful for their attentions because she's ugly.
She dislikes men because they don't see women as people, and a whore's daughter knows better than most that all most women want is to be valued for more than their cunt.
Her father is better than most – he keeps her and her sisters close, after all, lavishes them with the best love he can manage, because Obara sometimes wonders if he has any love left at all since her aunt was murdered. Still, she often feels as though he is shaping them, moulding them for some grand purpose that probably involves the doom of House Lannister.
She has always served a purpose for men – a guard that Arianne would accept for her uncle, a weapon for her father, an example of shame for the septons, a figure of derision for the lordlings.
The only man she thinks she's ever met who simply saw her as a person – an equal – is her father's friend, the boy-knight who is a knight no more.
She says boy-knight, because that is what everyone calls Willas Tyrell, but when she meets him she is surprised to find that while he is young, he is almost of an age with her oldest sister, six-and-ten and tall with it, taller than her.
She supposes that he is handsome – people say that the Tyrells are, generally, although they apparently run to fat in their middle years – but he seems unaffected by it, not like the pretty lordlings who flock to Arianne and Nym and expect their attentions to be appreciated.
Willas Tyrell is cheerfully unimpressed by everything and everyone, though, and Obara decides that a man who seems not to judge a woman on her face before he speaks to her and learns some little bit of her mind is one worthy of her approval.
Nymeria Sand is the one to receive the missive from Highgarden when her father dies, and she is glad that it was Willas and not Mace who wrote it.
The boy-knight – he never did manage to shake the moniker among herself and her sisters – does not bother with the flowery nonsense that every other northerner has used to express their false condolences on hearing of the death of the Red Viper. She is fully aware that Dorne is unpopular with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, and that her father was the least popular of Dornishmen, but Willas was his friend and so it is with a glad heart that she presents his letter to Ellaria.
There are few in the north – anywhere beyond the Marches – who might have ever come to be friends with her father, and Nym never imagined that any of them would come from the Reach. Willas seems to somehow have escaped that inherent prejudice, though, something Nym suspects comes from having been raised mostly in Oldtown rather than Highgarden, and she is glad of it. He is a good man, in his own quiet sort of way, and knowing that there is at least one person beyond Dorne who mourns her father's passing eases Nym's heart a little, even though it does nothing for her desire for vengeance.
Tyene Sand met Willas Tyrell when she was little more than a girl, when he was little more than a boy, and although she has never told anyone at all – not her sisters, not Arianne – she offered him her maidenhead.
Most men – she has lain with only a handful, choosing her lovers carefully to avoid detection, because she has a reputation to uphold that her father always told her would be useful someday – would have jumped at the chance. Tyene is not vain, but she knows that she is beautiful, almost as beautiful as Nym and Sarella. Any man, near enough, would have been elated at the chance to share her bed, especially with the knowledge that he would be the one to despoil the septa's snake.
That Willas turned her down – not, as far as she could tell, because he was shy or nervous of her, nor because of any fear of her father – had the perverse effect of making Tyene utterly besotted by him. That affection has faded over the years, been replaced with something almost brotherly – Tyene has always longed for a brother – but the deep understanding that Willas Tyrell turned her down not for any foolish notions of honour or propriety but rather because he knew before she did that their attachment was nothing more than a rush of childish desire and they would both come to regret it often makes Tyene wonder how the world might be different if more men had his frame of mind.
Sarella Sand has always liked a challenge – that is why she agreed to her father's plan for sending her to the Citadel, after all, knowing as she did that becoming the first woman to ever forge a maester's chain would be a great challenge indeed.
Hiding her grief at the news of her father's death was an even greater challenge – she had been closer to him than any of the others, save perhaps Nym, but she had not seen him in so long that it almost felt as if he'd been taken from her twice over. It was a challenge, but she did it because Sarella was never, ever defeated by a challenge.
She hears that Willas is staying with his grandfather in the High Tower for a time, that he will be visiting the Citadel during his stay, and for the first time she panics – none others here stood a chance of recognising her, because she has her father's Dornish colouring but her mother's Pentoshi features and looks nothing like a Martell, but Willas knows her.
She counts herself lucky that the Citadel is so vast, and then counts herself unlucky that she just happens to be dashing across the courtyard when he rides in with Baelor Brightsmile and the Old Man himself.
He sees her – she catches his eye despite herself, and before she has a chance to duck her head and run as fast as she can before he has a chance to truly recognise her, he winks and grins and strikes up a loud conversation with his uncle and grandfather, giving her time to escape.
Willas knows, she thinks later, knows that she is breaking a hundred rules and a thousand conventions, and even Sarella's relief at not being uncovered is pushed aside by the overwhelming affection she feels for Willas bloody Tyrell.
Arianne Martell is unsurprised when Willas Tyrell is an exceptional lover – with that mouth, those hands, how could he be anything else?
He expects no promises from her – she is in Highgarden on an official visit, as an envoy for her cousin the new King, come to invite the new Lord of Highgarden to swear fealty as the new ruling Princess of Dorne. They are all new, all unfamiliar with their posts, and when Arianne finds herself waking up in Willas' bed with a headache and no true recollection of what went before, she fears for one horrible moment that he will prove himself to be one of the dreaded Reacher lords her uncle always warned her of.
He is Willas, though, so instead he enquires after her headache and offers to leave her to dress. There is no panic after that.
It is remarkably easy to be his lover – not only does he expect no promises, but he expects no regularity, no devotion. He is glad to see her coming, of course, and is always attentive and generous, but he also understands that she loves him, but is not in love with him.
Sometimes, Arianne wonders if mayhaps Alerie Hightower cuckolded her Tyrell husband, because Willas' outlook on many things is so emphatically Dornish that she finds it hard to believe that he's purely Reacher.
Willas Tyrell meets Allyria Dayne almost by accident in the halls of the Red Keep. He is there to attend his sister and queen, she to visit with her sister, the Lady Ashara, and they quite literally run into one another outside the library.
She is lovely in every way he can imagine a woman being lovely, from her soft, lilting accent to the silver-gold colour of her hair. She smiles, her violet eyes luminous, and he almost swallows his tongue he's so taken aback by how sweet her face is.
He drives himself half-mad courting her, finding the Sand Snakes and Arianne, friends and lovers and sometimes both, and demanding every snippet of information they have and are willing to divulge about Allyria until they laugh themselves silly.
Then they realise that he is in earnest, and they seem stunned.
Allyria herself seems stunned when she comes to the realisation that yes, the Lord of Highgarden, the Queen's brother, is courting her despite the rumours surrounding her relationship with the now long-dead Beric Dondarrion, the rumours of a torn maidenhead that somehow demean a woman's character north of the Marches, and her surprise extends to every single person at court.
When Margaery puts the question to him – why her? Why a Dornishwoman? – Willas shrugs sheepishly and tells her that he's always found Dornishwomen refreshingly forthright, but also that Allyria is the first woman he's ever met who he wants as a friend and a lover and some indeterminable other thing.
Margaery laughs, but Allyria Tyrell rides to Highgarden with her husband before the winter is over.