Damage Timing Question

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To set the scenario, I have a Whipkeeper in play, and my opponent has a random 1/1 creature (we'll just say Benalish Hero) which I have placed Ragged Veins on. In my hand, I have a Lightning Axe and a Fork, and the mana to play both. My opponent is at 20 life.

I cast Lightning Axe on the Hero, which would do 5 damage to it, thus killing it and doing 5 damage to my opponent, but I'd like to be able to use the Ragged Veins to better effect. So this leads to two questions:

1) Am I able to Fork the Lightning Axe before the Hero dies to double the damage being done to my opponent?

2) Regardless of the answer to #1, am I able to use the Whipkeeper to double the damage before the Hero dies?

1. Yes you can respond to your Lightning Axe spell by playing Fork on it, but you won't get the effect you want. After the Fork copy deals damage to the Hero, it will be destroyed as a state-based effect. Then, the Axe is countered on resolution because its target is illegal, so none of its effects will happen.

2. No, state-based effects destroy the Hero before you get priority to play the ability.