Cannon Shear is reportedly a cousin of Whisper, who had been the most dangerous and successful Rebel general of the Circle of Eighteen, until she was Taken by the Lady. He is somehow instructed or influenced by Whisper, despite being on opposite sides, to crush the Black Company, which is garrisoned in the free republic of Aloe. Whisper and her comrade the Limper are using Shear to effect their revenge on the Company for past transgressions.
Cannon Shear leads two columns in a pincer movement to hit the Company. However, his movements have been anticipated by the Company's Captain. Shear's first force suffers terrible fatalities when the Captain's group pummels them with concentrated missile fire as they brazenly try to force across two bridges. The annalist Croaker is a firsthand witness and records that a river is almost dammed with Rebel bodies. Shear's second force, described as "panicky amateurs", is ambushed elsewhere and scattered by the Lieutenant. It is not recorded if Cannon Shear survived his crushing defeat at the hands of the Black Company.