The Cursed Axe" from Silver Blade Magazine is a story of revenge and its cost. A band of so-called mercenaries has long plagued Sabela's village, and after the ruthless rape of her friend Viatrix, Sabela determines to do something about them. She decides to fight evil with evil. One girl would have no chance against a camp of bandits but someone wielding the enchanted Cursed Axe, which "drove its bearers insane with an insatiable lust for bloodshed," would be unstoppable. Never mind the druid Severinus's warnings or the legends which claim that suicide is the ultimate fate of the bearer. Sabela is ready to sacrifice everything, but the Cursed Axe has a will of its own and what Sabela is ready to give up may not be what the Axe wants to take.
Doherty has created a powerful narrative. We sympathize with Sabela's desire to defend her friends and neighbors. Sabela brings safety to the village but at a tremendous personal cost. Severinus tells her that "your deeds shall not be forgotten," which may be some comfort to Sabela if she can escape the memories of the horrors she wrought with the Cursed Axe.
Image Credit: By Doublecompile (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.