The Drache Girl – The Dechantagne House

In addition to Iolanthe and Yuah, several others live in the Dechantagne household (not including the servants).

Mrs. Colbshallow continues to live with the Dechantagnes.  Mrs. C is perhaps the most often encountered household memeber.  She has her bit in all six of the books.  By this point, she’s pretty much running the house and her son lives right across the street.

Iolana, Iolanthe’s daughter is a toddler in this book and while she appears, she doesn’t have too big a part to play.  The same is true of Yuah’s son Augie, who is a tiny baby.  Both have a much bigger parts in books 4 & 5.

At that moment a little girl, almost three, in a bright floral dress ran into the room.  Her blond hair seemed thin around her chubby, round face, but was supplemented with a large red bow on the top of her head.  Bouncing along on her chubby little legs, she was not quite in control of her body, and bumped right into the stuffed arm of Iolanthe’s chair.  She was up again quickly, though she left the item she had been carrying, a doll with a dress exactly like hers, lying on the hardwood floor.

“Auntie Yuah,” said the toddler, running to the woman with the baby.  “I want to give Augie a kiss.”

“Alright, but carefully.  He’s asleep and we don’t want to wake him.”

With the exaggerated movements that are so endearing in the very tiniest human beings, the little girl reached up on her tip-toes and puckered up her lips, stretching them out as far as they could go, and kissed the baby, held out by its mother, with a smacking sound.  She then rolled back on her heels, almost losing her balance and falling back onto the coffee table.

“Very sweet,” said Yuah.  “Now go see Mummy.”

“Don’t you dare jump on me,” said Iolanthe, as the child trundled around the table toward her.  “Your dress is filthy.  What have you been doing?”

“Making mud pies.”

“Making mud pies,” muttered the governor.  “Sirrek!”

The mottled yellow and brown lizardman returned.

“Who is supposed to be watching Iolana?”

“Kheesie,” hissed Sirrek.

“Remind her that the child is supposed to stay clean.  If she can’t do her job, I’m sure that there are others who can.  And have her draw Iolana a bath.”  Iolanthe turned to Yuah.  “If there is one thing you can count on the lizards to get right, it’s bathing.”

Yuah gave a half nod-half shrug of acknowledgement; though the vast majority of her attention was still on the sweet, perfect, angelic, little face of Augustus Marek Virgil Dechantagne.  At two months old, he was still so tiny and so helpless that without trying, he activated that part of her that seemed to want to do everything for him and to give him everything.  And he looked so much like his father.  She held and cuddled him for half an hour, scarcely noticing that everyone else eventually left the room.  Finally she was rewarded with his dark blue eyes opening.  As he looked back at her, she felt the pull of her milk, and carried the baby upstairs and into the nursery to feed him.

The Drache Girl: Zurfina

Zurfina the Magnificent is a character in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series.  In Book 3: The Drache Girl, as in Book 2: The Dark and Forbidding Land, Zurfina appears, but itsn’t around all that much.  It is, after all, Senta’s story.  When Zurfina is present though, she is really fun.  She is one of my favorite characters because she is so seriously messed up.  She’s self-absorbed to the point of being psychotic.  She’s sexy and wild.  And of course, she’s extremely powerful.  She lives by a few basic guidelines.  If you’re powerful enough, you never need to explain yourself.  If you’re powerful enough you never have to do anything you don’t want to.  Nobody is as important as she is.

The Drache Girl: Yuah Dechantagne

Yuah Dechantagne is a character in Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 3: The Drache Girl.

Spoiler Alert.

Book 3 is the mid-point for Yuah’s story arc.  In many ways, it is for her, the high point in her life.  She has married into a high position in an extremely wealthy family.  What’s more, she actually has a position that puts her above Iolanthe in some ways (because she’s married to Iolanthe’s elder brother, and therefor first female in the family).  This was a fun turn of events for me, because in the first book, Iolanthe is so horrible to her.  On the other hand, Yuah’s low point comes at the end of the book as the only thing she has ever wanted is taken away from her.

Yuah appears only a little in book 4, not because her part isn’t important, but only because book 4 is very Senta-centric.  In some ways her story carries on further than anyone else’s, but you’ll just have to wait for book 5 to see what I mean.

The Drache Girl: The Writers

Books play an important role in Senta and the Steel Dragon, and quite a few fictional authors and their books appear throughout the series. One author mentioned in a previous book actually is a major character in books 4 and 5. ::grin::

Phoebus Dodson is the author of several scientific works that we usually see Hero enjoying or Senta dreading. I imagine his books are huge, with heavy leather bindings, and are usually dusty because nobody wants to read them. His books include: Time and Space, Matter and the Elements, Gravity and Light, and The Contracting Universe.

Dillan Westmacott is the author of a racy novel entitled The Pursuit of Perfection. (Spoiler Alert) This is of course also a reference to the relationship between Terrence, Yuah, and a certain otherworldly winged woman. (End spoiler)

The most often referreed-to author is Kasia Garstone. She is a scandalous muck-raker (and some say socialist or communist. Her books include Steam, Revenge, Sacrifice, and Privilage and Sacrifice. Practically everyone reads her works, but almost nobody admits to it. My favorite line about Garstone actually doesn’t appear until book 5, but I’ll give you a little preview.

“Kasia Garstone says wizards are tools of the oppressors.”

The Drache Girl: The Finklers

Ada Finkler and her son Aalwijn are, like Hero and Hertzel, escaped Zaeri from Freedonia.  Mrs. Finkler, a renowned cook, has set up a bakery and cafe in Port Dechantagne.  She is mostly a background character, seldom actually seen but often referred to.  Aalwijn on the other hand, becomes a fairly important character by the end of this book.

These characters did not appear in my orignial draft of the series.  As I was writing The Voyage of the Minotaur, I threw in a single line about Mrs. Finkler supplying food for Zeah Korlann.  Later, when I needed an eating establishment, I fleshed them out and they became regular characters.  You will probably get a hint of why Aalwijn becomes important toward the end of this book, but you will clearly see it in the next.

The Drache Girl: Hero and Hertzel

Hero and Hertzel Hertling are twins who appear in Senta and the Steel Dragon.  They first made a small appearance in The Voyage of the Minotaur, and by The Dark and Forbidding Land, they had become Senta’s good friends.  The twins, along with Senta and Graham, form a core of characters for The Drache Girl.

In addition to watching the relationships of kids at school, I think I owe a debt to J.K. Rowling for the way these kids connect in the book.  Of course in the later books their relationships change as they do for all of us in real life.

I have always like the name Hero for a girl, no doubt from my love of Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I picked out Hertzel’s name from a baby name website.  I just needed something to go with Hero.  The twins are Zaeri, which is my fantasy stand-in for Judaism and they have escaped Freedonia, which is my stand in for the Third Reich.  Hero is shy and delicate and I had plenty to draw on for her.  I don’t know where I got the idea for Hertzel to be mute, but it just seemed to fit.

The Drache Girl: Graham Dokkins

Graham Dokkins is one of the major characters in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series.  Graham sort of came into his own in Book 2, but he remains extremely important in book 3.  Several plot lines revolve around him and his relationship with Senta.  Graham really compliments Senta and they work well together as a couple, even though they are kids.

One of the things that I’ve been struggling with is how much Graham appears in Book 4, which isn’t much.  In the rewrite, I think I’ll add a bit more of him.

The Drache Girl: Bessemer

It was the size of a small pony, covered in scales the color of polished steel.  Every step it took was a study in grace, and from the tip of its whiskered snout, past its folded wings, to the tip of its barbed tail, it seemed to just flow along.
“They look as though they’ve never seen a dragon before,” said the dragon.

Bessemer the dragon appears more in The Drache Girl than any other book in the series.  He is right there on the first page, and what’s more, he’s grown up enough to talk.  He’s a regular character in his own right.  Part of the story of the series is his growth of course, but I found him particularly fun to write in this book.

The Drache Girl: Senta Bly

Senta Bly is the title character for the Senta and the Steel Dragon series of fantasy books.  In The Drache Girl, book 3 of the series, she is twelve years old and has finally come into her own a bit.  In this book more than any of the others, we see Senta as a kid, with friends who adventure with her around the town of Port Dechantagne.

Spoiler Alert:

Though Senta is really quite a powerful sorceress at this point, people aren’t too afraid of her yet.  This is a major theme of books 4 and 5.  People know her and know not to cross her.  At least the people of Port Dechantagne do, and some visitors learn this during the course of the story.

Senta at age twelve was inspired by a string of skinny blond girls who came and went in my class.  One in particular came to school one day with her face all skinned up, and that inspired one of the chapters in this book.