This story has a lot of humanity in it. That's the best word for it. From the agonizing deaths to the moral question at its core, this story looks at the human costs of the magic, mayhem and pure human malice that make up heroic fiction. The hero, Ninshi, is Ehart's titular hero from the novel Servant of the Manthycore. In this tale, a group of mountain bandits stand between her and the herb she must have to free herself from the Manthycore's arcane shackles.
Thank you Brian!