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Gray Maiden. The Gray Maiden was created by Arthur D. Howden Smith (Miles McConaughy, Harry Ormerod, Swain the Viking) and appeared in seven stories in Adventure (U.S.) from 1926 to 1927, beginning with “The Forging” (Adventure (U.S.), June 23, 1926). The Gray Maiden is actually a sword, a thin gray blade of excellent forging and, just possibly, a bloodthirsty disposition. It was forged at the bidding of Pharaoh Thutmose III, who ordered his smith, a wizard and worshiper of Ba'al, to make a blade tempered in the blood of one who the Pharaoh loved and one who the Pharaoh hated. The forge does so, making a sword whose blade was "keen and terrible, O hate that was relentless unto death," and who no weapon could resist. The stories follow the Maiden through the ages: it is in the hands of a Greek slave during the Battle of Marathon; it kills its cowardly owner during a battle between Alexander the Great and King Darius; it is used by Cretan pirates, Roman marines, a grunt in Hannibal's army, a soldier of Muhammed, and a Viking. The Maiden is covered with writing, Egyptian, Greek, and even some English: "Gray Maide men hail Mee/Death doth Notte fail Mee."

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