Ward Shaw (The Sword)
'I was told that everyone I'd served with in the military died shortly after I left.'
The Sword is a nickname given to Ward Shaw, a Brigadier-General in charge of military forces in The First World. Ward entered the military after his encounter with the regeneration seed of an entity of enormous magnitude, which had grown to exist outside of many reality or universe bubbles.
He previously had a brother, Dan Shaw, who sacrificed himself when attempting to destroy the seed with high explosives.
Ward Shaw has been under complete psychic control by Cristina Thompson since the events of Earth 44. Cristina Thompson implanted a Purple bio-stone in his spine, turning him into a puppet for her own ends.
Due to the brutal tactics Cristina Thompson enacted through Ward, he is accused of bringing The Crushing Fist down on the multitude of universes in the multiverse by The First World. Behind closed doors, he is also known as The Double-Edged Sword, likely a derisive nickname earned through reputation. He is described as being physically very large and strong, with a sharp brown beard, heavy brow and dark eyes. His physical enhancement, extra height and strength was initiated by his exposure to the regenerative properties of the Regeneration Core of a Multiverse Titan, although unknown further changes have taken place due to exposure to the Shadow Sphere.
Ward Shaw is known by many for the brutal tactics used when ordering his troops against the entities dwelling within The Ink on Earth 44, which caused significant loss of life. When his own troops resisted these orders to re-enter The Ink to face certain death, they were ordered to build hotboxes, which they were then locked in until they complied. When two troops openly dissented with his orders to disarm the explosives around the Shadow Sphere within The Ink, Cristina Thompson used him to order his still loyal troops to shoot them.
After the revolt started by Vasiliev Blaku on Earth 44 combined with an attack by local rebels, Cristina Thompson forced Ward and his remaining loyal troops to enter the Shadow Sphere, using it to locate a dead world outside the Outer Shield. Travelling through the Shadow Sphere was not without its consequences however, and it caused lasting damage to those who passed through, transforming them into The Black-eyed Army. Ward was affected, but due to the presence of the Purple bio-stone, was not under the control of the entity responsible for the Shadow Sphere until the Soul Reader (Book) was activated.
Ward appears to have significant knowledge regarding The Crushing Fist and the dangerous entities associated with it, likely due to his connection with Cristina Thompson and The Black-eyed Army. He was originally used as a command conduit by Cristina Thompson to control The Black-eyed Army, but due to his incarceration in Teskoy Prison, The Black-eyed Army has been operating to its own ends.
When Conn Thompson attempted to use the Soul Reader (Book) on Ward, it was unable to read his soul, and reported a critical error. The interaction of the device with The Sword unleashed a separate entity that was within him, turning his eyes black and imbuing him with immense strength and even the ability to forcibly stretch open a closing Brownshirt portal. He was aware of the presence of the second entity within him, and warned Conn Thompson and Vasiliev Blaku that what he had experienced and seen had changed him. When queried further by Conn Thompson regarding his possession and whether he had made a deal with the devil, The Sword responded that he had, in a manner of speaking, but that "she pulled one over on me". This is clearly in reference to his belief from Cristina Thompson that the Purple bio-stone would make him stronger, when in fact it simply made him into a human puppet.
The entity inhabiting Brigadier General and controlling him while the Soul Reader (Book) is active seems to have destructive intent, as it plans to deactivate the golden Inner Shield protecting it from The Crushing Fist. Whether this will result in the destruction of The First World is unknown, as the forces of The Crushing Fist are being amplified and concentrated by the Inner Shield.
In his non-black-eyed state, Ward shows greater control and a certain level of compassion, likely translated through from Cristina Thompson. Since the destruction of the gateway facility at Teskoy Prison, he was recaptured by The First World authorities along with Conn Thompson, Cristina Thompson and Vasiliev Blaku. Although he was present at the trial of the decade, he was never brought to testify in his own right, as the trial was interrupted by what was learned during the trial of Cristina Thompson. Cristina Thompson ended up revealing that the Inner Shield would not be able to protect The First World from The Crushing Fist during the trial, which was broadcast live across the entire world and multiple nearby realities.
Traits: Holds a significant grudge against the Preacher, likely due to the Purple bio-stone and Cristina Thompson's influence through it. Changed by his past experiences, namely traversing the Shadow Sphere and its living nightmares, which has resulted in some form of dark entity becoming connected to him. When possessed by this entity, he also has unusually high strength and resilience. Appears to show a limited sense of compassion, evidenced by his apology to Conn Thompson for nearly killing him, although this could equally be Cristina Thompson's control of him. Has been directly mentally connected to a Multiverse Titan through direct physical contact with its Regeneration Core.