The Two Dragons: Ivo & Femke Kane

Ivo and Femke Kane are two characters in Senta and the Steel Dragon.  They first appear in book 3: The Drache Girl.  They are a husband and wife pair of engineers that come to Birmisia to work for the coal company.  Although there are hints in book 3, we don’t really learn all that much about them until The Two Dragons, in which we learn they have an unusual relationship.

Senta, who had taken a bath upon her return from the great plaza earlier in the day, took another. The rectangular tub was just over seven feet long and five feet wide, which by human standards made it quite spacious. Its depth however was what made it remarkable. Though she was an even six feet tall, Senta could not touch the bottom even on her tip-toes, without dunking her head. Four square stone spouts provided a continuous flow of water into the tub, which spilled over the top and ran down to a drain cut with four long grooves from a one foot square piece of stone.

After the bath, Senta returned to her room dressed in her large fluffy housecoat. She sat down on her sleeping mat and thought about opening Matter and the Elements once more, but just couldn’t face it. Instead she reached into her bag and pulled out a well-worn copy of Intruder by Anarosa Freedman. It was a relatively easy matter to find the racy parts, as the corners of the pages had become dog-eared with rereading.

“Well, what are we priming ourselves up for?” asked Mrs. Kane, when she entered a few minutes later.

“Just reading a bit.”

“So I see. You’ve had an exciting day.” Mrs. Kane sat down cross-legged next to Senta. “You know I’ve always thought that you were a remarkable young woman,” she said, placing her hand on Senta’s shoulder.


“I’ve thought that you might be someone I would like to get to know better.”


“My husband and I have an agreement. He’s free to pursue other women, as am I.”

“As you are what?”

“Free to pursue other women.”

Senta stared uncomprehending for a moment. Then recognition kicked her in the side of the head just above the ear.


“Now don’t be that way,” said Mrs. Kane. “The love between two women can be a beautiful thing.”

“I’ve got all the loving women that I need,” said Senta. “What’s more, I have a loving man.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, dear. You don’t really need one of those.”

“There we must agree to disagree.” Senta lifted the woman’s hand from her shoulder and set it aside.

“Pity,” said Mrs. Kane, moving to her own sleeping mat. “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.”

“Yes, I’m sure I could navigate thirty-three inches if needed.”

Senta put away her lamp, though it had not yet grown dark enough in the room to need it, and her book, and curled up under her blanket. It had been an eventful day and despite feeling vaguely more nervous about Mrs. Kane’s proximity than she had before, she was soon asleep.

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