From: Judi Marko 
Subject: [AM] From the City of Dreams to the Land of Pleasure
        Silently she watched him climb the stair of nothingness that 
reached upwards into the City of Dreams.  Another stairway had been in 
her mind, one that descended into the depths of the Great Sea.  
Faiella-bionin it was called and it led to Rebma, the submerged mirror 
image of Amber.  It had been in Laura's mind to visit Rebma, but on this 
night, something had drawn her to the peak of Kolvir.  Something had 
drawn Orbus here, too.   The same something?  Different?  Was it for 
both of them a choice they made or was an unknown something else 
directing them?
        Laura had had a dreadfully disturbing -- what? -- dream, 
experience, vision, that evening.  She was not sure which and doubted 
she ever would be.   But, while she had felt her pulse quicken when 
Orbus joined her on the mountaintop, she had a sense that he, too, was 
more than a little distressed and couldn't help but wonder at its cause. 
        Now, her eyes were fixed upon his back as he climbed the 
gossamer rungs until he disappeared into the misty clouds.  How very 
tempting it was to place her own foot upon that first step and follow 
him to the ghost-city of Tir-na Nog'th.  Even now, her foot was raised.  
But no, she must not. Orbus had entrusted her to stand guard for him, 
ready to bring him back at a moment's notice, much has Brandi had 
entrusted her with the swan ring that encircled the ring finger of her 
right hand.   She would not let her curiosity betray that trust.
        She had taken the Trump he offered her, but it was not that card 
she now held in her hand.  No, she had slipped his Trump into the pocket 
of her slacks and pulled out the one she had drawn of him earlier that 
day. Similar to his own in line and form, the planes and angles of his 
face, the muscle and sinew of his body, the dash and style of his 
clothing were identical in both cards.  But in Laura's Trump, he 
appeared more sensual, more provocative, for a designer of Trump 
projected her feelings about her subject into the drawing.  This, 
combined with the force of the Pattern, was what gave the Trumps their 
        What was he doing there and would he tell her when he came 
down?  A few moments concentration on the card assured her that he was 
all right for the moment.  
Laura's mind turned to Brandi.  To her knowledge, no one had as yet 
heard from her volatile cousin since Brandi's abrupt departure from 
Amber.  After checking once more on Orbus, Laura took out Brandi's Trump 
and tried for a contact.  For a brief moment, the card grew cold in her 
hand, but almost immediately returned to its inert state, a sure sign 
Brandi had refused the contact.
        "Ill have to talk to Zachary about that tomorrow," she worried. 
"And Julianna calls ME the impulsive princess."
        Well, there was nothing for it unless they decided to try and 
track Brandi tomorrow, and Laura had a job at hand.  Once more she gazed 
at Orbus' Trump.
        [Orbus, are you all right?  I felt a disturbance through the 
        The wind picked up again and whipped around Laura as she 
perceived his words.  Both had an ominous quality to them.
        "And they call the wind Mariah."  She sang the words of the 
haunting song from a popular musical of her Shadow.  The show had not 
been one of the better ones produced by the prolific composer and 
librettist, but this song was one of despair and beauty.  It seemed to 
fit the setting.
        He was not yet ready to come back and her thoughts turned to 
Shadow. Shadow Earth was one thing and Laura wanted to return there to 
find Rusty. Amber needed a Court Attorney since the death of Bill Roth, 
and Laura had a sense that Rusty was destined to fill that position.  
But Earth was not enough.  Just about all the royals could call that 
Shadow their own.  Like the rest of them, Laura wanted to find one that 
was hers alone.  If the mind could imagine it, it could be found in 
somewhere in Shadow.   Laura's mind began to envision the Shadow she 
would make hers.  Through closed eyelids it began to take shape.  Lush 
and tropical, a land of colorful flora and elemental magic.  When the 
details were clear to her, she would mount Tovarich and ride through 
Shadow, changing a tree here, a color there, until they found it.  
Tikawai -- she would find her Tikawai -- some day, one day - soon -------
        Abruptly, Laura caught herself in mid dream and snapped out of 
her reverie.  She looked upward and was filled with alarm. The night sky 
had blackened; the moonlight was fading behind dense clouds.  Orbus!
        "Orbus?  Orbus!" she called.  "You have to leave.  The City is 
fading^Eoh, why won't you move? Give me your hand," she pleaded, 
stretching her own outwards-- reaching -- reaching --
        And he caught hold and stumbled forward as the misty stair 
disappeared. Falling into her, they collapsed in a tangle of arms and 
legs.  Carefully he extracted himself from her, trying not to enjoy the 
experience too much.
        "Sorry about that.  I was caught up in the vision."
        "What was it?  What did you see?"
        "My destiny."
        The two words filled Laura with a sense of foreboding.  It was 
strong, powerful, but it faded from her consciousness as he reached up 
and brushed aside a strand of hair.  Their faces were but inches apart 
now.  His lips parted.  So did hers.  Breathing quickened.
        "I, ah, thank you for the quick rescue," he said, trying in vain 
to ignore the temptations of the moment.  I might have waited too long 
and been in real trouble.  Walking the City of Dreams is perilous."
        "Yes, perilous."
        But there was excitement in danger, and excitement was brewing 
here. Laura welcomed it as Orbus leaned forward and pressed his lips to 
hers. Lips parted, her arms went around his neck, drawing him still 
closer into the kiss.  The chill of the wind vanished, overcome by the 
heat of their bodies.
        "Shall we go somewhere more comfortable?" she asked in a 
throaty, sensuous whisper when the first kiss ended.
        "My apartment?" he suggested, running a finger lightly along her 
cheekbone as Laura smiled assent.
        "Oh, she is dangerous, this new young Princess of Amber," he 
thought as they descended Kolvir, her small hand shooting sparks into 
his that felt like twenty thousand volts being transferred.  "I thought 
electricity did not work in Amber."
        A while later they stood outside the door to his apartment.  
This door, unlike some others inside, was not magically locked.  Orbus 
withdrew a key from his pocket.  His hand was poised, ready to insert 
the key into the lock when he stopped.
        "Laura, are you sure about this?"
        She smiled up at his, arms reaching up to encircle and stroke 
his neck. Her grey eyes had darkened, smoldering with a desire that 
pierced his defenses and penetrated his mind.
        "Silly Orbus."  Her voice was low and husky, throbbing with 
passion seeking expression, a throbbing she could feel matched in his 
body.  "I've had a disturbing day.  I sense that you have, too.  
Tomorrow will likely bring more danger, new threats to us and to Amber.  
Can you think of a better way than pleasure shared to calm frayed nerves?"
        She pulled back from him, gazing up into his eyes, her exquisite 
face an open invitation.
        "Do you want me to walk away?"
        All he heard of the last was, "Do you want me^E."  It had been 
so long, so very long.  The key in his hand slid into the lock almost of 
its own volition and the door was open.
        It was very late now and the Castle halls appeared deserted, but 
more than one pair of eyes witnessed the scene.  The reactions as Laura 
and Orbus moved inside were as diverse as the people who observed them.
        Laura was impressed as Orbus showed her around his apartment.  
It was decorated tastefully with an eye for quality.  The furniture was 
heavy and of dark polished wood, very masculine in nature.  Several 
items, Laura was sure, had been found in Shadows unknown and unimagined 
by her.  His arm around her shoulder, Orbus led her into a bedroom 
dominated by an enormous featherbed covered with a black and red 
comforter of a pattern so intricate and unusual that Laura knew it must 
contain meaning  --  or magic.  In what to a casual observer might have 
easily appeared to be accidental, his hand brushed her breast leaving no 
doubt in his mind as to her rising desire.
        "I like your home, Orbus.  What's behind here?"
        Pushing open a door to the left of the bed, she stepped into a 
bathroom which held a large, marbled Roman tub.
        "Very nice, dear.  Mmm, a bath seems divine after our hours on 
Kolvir. Maybe you'd like to chill some wine for us while I run some 
        Smiling to herself, Laura didn't wait for a reply.  She closed 
the door behind her and opened the taps that would fill the tub.  From a 
nearby closet she removed two large fluffy towels.
        "Orbus, the tub is full, but I can't find the soap?  Can you 
come in and show me?"
        Not entirely sure whether it was the soap or something else she 
wanted him to show her, Orbus slowly opened the door to the bath.  And 
found Laura standing at the edge of the tub clad only in a towel.  She 
smiled as he drew in his breath and held up a hand holding a bar of soap.
        "I found it after all."  Her other hand reached to where the 
towel was tucked in between her breasts and in an instant, it fell to 
the floor. Before him stood a willing and eager golden goddess no longer 
encumbered by clothing.  She paused for a moment letting him drink in 
the sight, then turned and gave him a rear view as she descended the 
three steps into the steamy water.  Turning back to face him, she found 
he had removed his shirt and moved toward the tub's steps.
        "Come on in, dear. The water's fine."  Laura swam to where he 
stood.  "Let me just help you with this."  She reached up to his waist 
and loosened the clasp of his trousers.  
         All hesitation gone, Orbus was now ablaze with the need to leap 
headlong into the peril that was Laura of Amber.  He shed the rest of 
his clothing and in a moment was beside her in the rippling water.
        He felt the bar of soap being pressed into his hand and needed 
no instructions as to what to do with it.  Even through the density of 
water, he could feel the response of Laura's body as he covered it with 
foamy lather.  Her soft moans and gasps served only to inflame him 
        "Now, it's your turn," she whispered, giving him a lingering 
kiss.  "Just lie back against the steps."
        He did as she bade, a willing subject to her ministrations.  
"I'm a strong swimmer," she told him when she'd finished with his upper 
body.  Taking a deep breath she submerged and took equal pains with the 
lower portion. Beneath the surface, his hands stroked her as she soaped 
him and pulled her close to him when her head came once again above 
water after having delivered some kisses below.
        "Laura," he whispered as his fingers became more demanding.
        "Not yet," she said with a light laugh.  "First, we dry each 
other off." She stood up still laughing and pulled him playfully out of 
the tub.  The rubdown did nothing to cool their ardor.
        "What would you like to do now?" she inquired, looking up at him 
from beneath long, curled eyelashes.   His answer was to scoop her up in 
his arms and deposit her ever so gently on his bed.  "You have studied 
medicine, Orbus.  Shall we play doctor?" she teased.
        "Oh, you are a witch.  A most bewitching witch and truly the 
daughter of my Aunt Florimel."   He cleared his throat and assumed a 
professional tone. "Very well, my dear.  Your health is a most important 
issue so I shall examine you most thoroughly."
        "But, where's your little black bag, Doctor?"
        He stroked an imaginary goatee.  "I'm afraid it is too far to 
fetch at the moment.  I shall have to rely on my instruments at hand."
        "That will be fine.  It's said that a good physician can learn 
most from observation and touch."
        "Absolutely accurate, my dear.  Now, shall I begin right here?"
        Orbus raised himself up on one elbow to better observe the 
effects of his examination.  His finger traced a pattern beginning 
behind Laura's left ear and making its way down her neck and across her 
shoulder until it found its way to her breasts.
        "Ahhhh yes.  Most thorough, Doctor," she breathed as her nipples 
hardened under his touch.
        "Perhaps a little wine too relax you?" Orbus suggested knowing 
that he could do with some relaxation of his own as Laura's fingers 
began their own examination.
        "Yes, please."  She licked her lips as he brought the glass of 
chilled white wine close to her mouth.  Oh no, Orbus.  Not that way, I 
        Laura took the glass from him and lay back against the pillows.  
Her eyes remained locked on him as she tilted the glass and a narrow 
stream of liquid spilled into the hollow between her breasts and 
trickled its way downward.  The bit that was left she tilted into her 
mouth and pulled him in for a kiss that tasted of wine.  He moaned into 
her mouth as their tongues tastes each other.  And when the kiss ended, 
his followed the trail of the wine from breast to stomach and ever 
down.  His cheek, resting against her stomach, felt the muscles contract 
and release with sensation.
        Orbus felt his own passion mount as Laura began to tremble and 
move rhythmically under his touch.  Soon his lips found her inner thighs 
and moved closer to her center of pleasure while he guided her hands and 
mouth to his own remembered most sensitive places.
        "Your instruments at hand seem to be in excellent working order, 
Doc," she gasped.
        "And I pronounce you in fine health and as limber a woman as I 
have ever had the pleasure to know."
        Those were the last words either spoke for a while for Laura's 
body turned into liquid gold, melting, flowing and conforming itself to 
a perfect fit with his as they brought each other over and over again 
almost to the crest until neither could stand to remained unjoined a 
moment longer.  He accepted with enthusiasm the invitation of legs 
parted and wrapped around him and the urgency of their mutual need 
erupted into an explosion that rocked them both.
        Still joined as their heartbeats slowly returned to normal, 
Orbus kissed her tenderly.  For this private moment, family suspicion 
had moved to the background.
        "I do hope you had a pleasant evening," Laura giggled, happily 
nestled in his arms.
        "You'll stay the night?" he invited though both were sure she 
was going nowhere.  Soon they feel asleep, but through the night one 
would waken to find the other ready to love again.  When morning came, 
Orbus awakened to find the golden princess smiling into his eyes.
        "You'll be leaving Amber again, won't you?" she asked tenderly. 
"To find the other side of your heritage."
        His eyes opened wider.  She had succeeded in surprising him once 
again. He said nothing, merely waited.
        "I know about the metal balls, Orbus.  One of the first things I 
did when I arrived in the True City was to read the chronicles of Prince 
Corwin and Prince Merlin.  It's not so long ago that I didn't begin to 
remember about Mandor."
        "I'm not ready to talk about that, Laura," he said seriously.
        "And I won't press.  I mention it so that you will realize that 
you have someone here who knows and accepts."
        He nodded, feeling pleasure at her words, but not ready to 
share.  She was, after all, still family.  He was still smarting from 
what he thought of as his mother's betrayal.
        "Thank you, my dear, for that and for more.  Yes, I must leave 
again, but I will return as soon as I can.  You are surely a draw to the 
Castle. Still I have to leave for a while."
        "But not just yet," she suggested, pressing closer to him.
        "No," he whispered, "not quite -- just -- yet."
Laura of Amber
  Well, you asked for it, Allen.  And remember, reciprocity. J