Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

Thin Ice


He came to to the sound of something hitting the door. With a frown and bleary glare for whoever dared to wake him when he had a headache, Cale rose his head from his pillow and coughed lightly due to the dust in the air.

"Yes?" he mumbled out and hoped they would go away soon.

"Young Master?" he didn't recognize the voice. "Young Master, breakfast is ready. You need to get up and eat."

"Mhm. Sure." His eyes slid closed as the fatigue he was wrapped in threatened to pull him down into slumber again. He wondered vaguely what kind of dream he was having for someone to call him a young master. Perhaps he had watched too many historical dramas? Who knew.

Not like it mattered.

The knocking resumed. "Young Master, are you listening? Master and Mistress are going to be disappointed if you skip it again. It's not good for your health. Young Master?"

His eyes snapped open as he realized what he was listening too. He stared at the white covers he was sleeping on. He was sure his own were blue. Dark blue for a matter of fact. Since when had he ever used white covers? His mother knew that he didn't like them because they were annoyingly bright in the morning. Kind of like now.

Cale pushed himself up until he was sitting on the bed. He palmed his eyes and tried to ignore the beginning of a headache behind them. As the knocking once again continued, he looked up, fully prepared to yell for them to leave. Instead, he found himself in shock.

This wasn't his room.

In fact, it wasn't even close.

His room was made up of dark colors and walls hidden by bookcases filled with manga and books. It had a TV and a computer and a lamp hanging from the ceiling. This wasn't anything like it. This room was made up of light colors, a large bed in the middle of it that he was currently sitting on, a light wooden desk wrenched into the corner with only a single bookcase and not a computer or TV to be seen.

In his panic, he forgot about his headache and stumbled out of the bed.

The floor was cold against his feet and he hissed as he stared down at it. But, strangely, only for a moment and then he was used to it. He was dressed in some kind of sleeping gown, which was also white, that went all the way down to his heels.

He took a step and listened to his footsteps. They were wrong. He wasn't sure how, but he knew they were. They didn't sound like they were supposed to like he was used to, but he wasn't sure what was different.

They just were.

His head flew from side to side as he tried to figure out where he was. In the middle of his quiet freak-out, the voice that woke him continued, "Young Master, are you up?"

"Ye-" he cleared his throat. "Yes. What day is it?" he asked, dreading the answer. If he'd lost time as well, he wasn't sure what he was going to do. Had he gotten drunk? But he'd never been much of drinker.

"It's Saturday, Young Master. Do you feel well enough to leave the house today?" the voice answered. It was, now that he was capable of thinking again, actually a rather pleasant voice if a little too high for his tastes. It gave the image of a young girl working in a café.

"What date is it?"

The handle of the door jiggled as the woman on the other side answered. "It's the thirteenth, Young Master."

Cale took a deep breath. It had been the thirteenth five days ago. "What month?"

"July, Young Master. Are you alright? Do you require any medicine? Should I summon your healer?"

July. July. That meant, he'd lost three months? How could he just lose three months of his life?! Things like that didn't happen! He wasn't at a hospital nor was he at home or anywhere else he recognized. He didn't know the owner of the voice that called him a young master and he didn't even recognize the clothes he was wearing. The last thing he knew, it had been April and he was at home with his parents. He had read until late at night when he went to sleep like any other day. There had been nothing out of the ordinary. He supposed that he could be suffering from some form of amnesia, but in that case, he should be at a hospital not in... in someplace that wouldn't look out of place in a historical novel!

He breathed in deeply. "Could... could I take my breakfast here? And medicine for my headache?"

"Certainly, Young Master. Will that be all?"

"Yes, thank you."

For now, he needed to find out where he was and how he'd ended up here. He needed to determine exactly how he lost three months of his life and what was going on. In his anxiety, he started to pace in the fairly large room.

Sometime later, he wasn't sure how long as there wasn't a clock in the room, knocking once again sounded from the door.

Cale hurried his way to the door and twisted the lock. He opened it up and stared out at the sight that met him. There was a maid, dressed in a long black dress, with a high collar and white frilly apron. She was carrying a tray that was covered by a plate and a cup of something that was steaming with heat. There was also a small translucent bottle of something that looked vaguely green.

He stretched out his arms, those as well covered by the sleepwear and took hold of the tray. "Thank you." he said and continued with, "The headache medicine?"

"It is the small bottle. It is the one you prefer the most, Young Master. Or would you like another one?"

He stared suspiciously at the bottle. "No. No, it's fine. Thank you."

The maid bowed and took her leave. Cale watched her go down the hallway briefly before he carried the tray inside and set it down on the desk. He then closed the door and locked it again. The last thing he wanted was someone walking in on him until he sorted out his thoughts.

Cale stared down at the breakfast. It looked ordinary. Bread with butter and jam and a cup of steaming hot chocolate just the way he liked it. He was unsure what he was supposed to do with the bottle of what was apparently headache reliever, but he wasn't sure he wanted to ask. Was this something he was supposed to know?

But the headache was moving on to the annoying level and he figured that as panicked and uncertain as he was, the last thing he could afford was being in pain because he was too stubborn to try it. If it was poison than there was probably an antidote somewhere around here and honestly, he couldn't really process the thought of dying right now. He'd take it and try his chances and hope for the best.

He sat down on the wooden chair by the desk and dragged the tray closer. He started with his breakfast.

It was gone within moments when he found that he was starving. He drank the cup of scalding hot chocolate and even the burn eased faster than he was used to. Once it was gone, he looked down forlorn at the plate. He was still a little hungry, but he gathered that he could wait. It wasn't urgent.

Cale took a deep breath before he drank the medicine in the bottle in one large gulp, determined not to taste it. With the way it looked, he didn't even want to know.

He put the bottle back down on the tray and waited. There was no immediate reaction so if it was poison it wasn't going to kill him instantly. He didn't feel any worse than he had a moment earlier, either. Suddenly, he found that he was tired. He blinked rapidly to try to get the heaviness out of his eyelids, but it didn't make a difference. He had the urge to sleep and to be honest, it didn't seem like a bad thing. Perhaps this was all a dream and when he woke up, he'd be back home? Maybe this was all a product of his imagination.

He hoped so.

Cale stood up shakily from the chair and dragged his feet to the bed. He turned away from the sunlight that was streaming in from one of the large open windows and fell down on the bed. It was comfortable, at least.

He breathed in the scent of lavender and chocolate that permeated the room and fell asleep quietly.

He really hoped it was all a dream.

* * *

It wasn't a dream.

Cale looked around the room as he sat still on the bed. It was evening now and candles had been lit around the room. In the corner was a fireplace that he'd previously missed, burning with flames that cast both light and eerie shadows from it.

He needed to pee.

Cale pushed himself out of bed, stumbling slightly due to the different height from what he was expecting and walked quietly to the door. He twisted the look and wondered who had the key to be able to light all those candles but didn't think more on it presently. He had other more pressing concerns. The hallway was dark with only a few candles on the walls to give light and he ignored the unsettling feeling it gave him. Apparently, the people who lived where he was didn't use electricity.

He closed the door behind him as he left and started to walk down the hallway.

The first door he tried was locked. So was the second and the third. The fourth was another bedroom, if a smaller one with a very Spartan decorating. The fifth finally led to a bathroom that he could use. A small candle was lit on the sink and he used it to light the others so he could see what he was doing.

Once he was finished with his business, he turned back to the sink to wash his hands. He just hoped there was running water and to his gratefulness, there was, if only cold. Cale was stunned to realize that the cold water didn't bother him. In fact, despite the fact that the floor was freezing against his bare feet, he'd stopped noticing it after the first few steps.

But it was nothing against the shock he received when he finally looked in the mirror.

It wasn't his face.

It was not his face.

Cale was a green-eyed twenty-year-old with brown hair and freckles. His skin was generally darker and looked permanently tanned.

That wasn't the face looking back at him.

This face was fair-skinned with no blemishes, a pair of large almond-shaped grey eyes and hair that went passed his shoulder blades trapped in a braid with a color he couldn't quite make out in the weak light, though it was unmistakably paler than his own. The nose was small and straight with a pair of full lips beneath it. The entire thing gave off a feminine air he wasn't used to as the face, even in the pale light, would be described as pretty rather than handsome. It was delicate looking in all the wrong ways for a male.

Even plastic surgery couldn't do that in just three months.

And there was no way he ever would have agreed with it.

Something was seriously wrong.

He started heaving for breaths in his panic. What the hell was going on here?! How the hell had he ended up in what was most likely someone else's body?! Things like that didn't happen! It belonged in books and mangas and movies, not... not in real life! What the hell was he supposed to do in a situation like this?!

Scream and cry for help? They'd think he was insane!

Cale's hands (it wasn't his hands) held tighter to the sink until his knuckles were white with the strain of it. He desperately held in a scream. His eyes were wide open in fear and his lips were trembling as he bit them to keep from saying anything. Dear God, what was he supposed to do now?! Sure, everyone had probably at some point fantasied of waking up in their favorite story but, but how the hell did that actually happen?! And weren't you supposed to keep your actual body?! This wasn't anything like it!

He wanted to scream and hit something and yell his anger to the heavens.

But there was no way he could actually do that.

He breathed in deeply as he finally started to calm down. He needed to compartmentalize. He needed to deal with one problem at a time. Figure out where he was, how he got there, whose body he was in and how to keep anyone else from finding out. Doubtlessly, he'd be locked up if it came out that this wasn't his body. Or locked away in a mental asylum, for that matter.

There was no way he could deal with that on top of this.

Cale slowly let go of the sink and blew out the extra candles he'd lit. He opened the bathroom door and started making his way back to the room he had woken up in. On the way, he bumped into the maid that had delivered his food.

The maid's eyes grew wide in surprise. "Young Master! You're up! Is your headache better now?"

Cale was still too stunned by his newest knowledge to speak, so he only nodded in response. The maid didn't seem to take that too bad because she continued with, "Would you like your dinner now? You've missed it, but we still have some left if you're hungry."

"Ah... yes, thank you. In my room, please." Cale uttered quietly to the maid, his gaze looking over her shoulder as he tried to recognize anything. Nothing he could see rang any bells.

He had no idea where he was.

"Of course, Young Master. I am glad you're feeling better now." The maid bowed and walked around him, presumably to the kitchen.

Cale watched her go around the corner before he continued his way to what he assumed was his room. If it wasn't, he hoped that the maid would correct him without making a big deal out of it. He was way too freaked out to bother with it.

The room was as he left it, lit up by candles along the walls and on the furniture with a lit fireplace in a corner. The warmth permeated the air and though it was summer, he supposed it must be very late at night indeed, if it was so cold the floor was freezing anyway. Cale took to looking over the bookcase as he waited for his food. The books were written in a language he didn't recognize with symbols and pictures scattered throughout it. He wondered what they were about.

He took one off of the shelf and held the leather-bound book in his hands. It was relatively thick, probably around five hundred or so pages and it had that old book smell that he enjoyed so much. It told of history and age and it was always amazing to him, how long books could last.

He opened the book, looking from page to page and staring at the strange alphabet.

Dizziness hit him with the weight of a train. He stumbled and leaned on the desk to keep from falling over as he stared at the text and letters. They weren't rearranging themselves, that would be a little too out there, but they suddenly made sense. Suddenly, as he read and stared at them, he could understand what it said. They weren't just pretty pictures anymore, but rather letters that made up actual words that he could read, if slowly.

It was amazing and unsettling and strange.

Like nothing he'd ever experienced before.

The knocking on the door dragged him out of his stupor and he remembered that he'd automatically locked it when he entered earlier. He laid the book down on the desk next to a lit candle and unlocked the door before he opened it. The maid was the same one as earlier and she was once again carrying a tray of food, with what this time looked like rice and something more in the weak light. Hopefully, it tasted as good as it looked.

"Thank you," he said to her.

She nodded and glanced into his room as she let go of the tray into his hands. When she saw the open book on the desk, an exasperated look crossed her face. "Are you reading again? You know you are not supposed to read in the late night with candles, it isn't good for your eyes. You're going to need glasses one of these days if you keep this up."

Cale stared at her, startled that she would go on like it was some big burden with a glint of mirth in her dark eyes. And it reminded him of the fact that he did need glasses, but hadn't since he'd woken up here. "Ah, I suppose you're right. The book is just very... fascinating. I couldn't put it down."

"I understand, Young Master, but you know that Madam is very worried about your health." the maid stated.

He nodded and smiled politely at her as he closed the door when she left. He leaned back on it with the tray still in his hands. When she said madam, did she mean this body's mother? For that matter, what did the body's mother even look like? Hell, what was the body's name? What if someone was speaking to him and he didn't realize because they were using a different name? That would kind of be a dead giveaway that something was wrong.

He groaned at the many different worries drowning his mind and carried the tray over to the desk, where he put it down next to the still open book. He stared down at the food for a couple of minutes before he gave in. The last meal hadn't killed him, so chances were this one wasn't going to either. Hopefully.

Probably.

Well, chances were that if he 'died' he would simply wake up in his own body. And that thought gave rise to unsettling suspicions, like was the soul that belonged to this body in his own body? Were they experiencing the same terror and fear that he was? Were they going to ruin his life?!

Damnit. He wasn't cut out for things like this.

This entire scenario was way too dramatic for his likings.

He ate the food on the tray, drank the thankfully cold milk and was grateful that the food fit his tastes. He appeared to be in another era if the lack of technology was any indication and there was no saying what the current popular dishes were. Moreover, some popular ones of the past contained things that were akin to poison and were really not good to eat often.

He needed information. Desperately. About everything.

And he meant everything.

Cale pushed the tray now empty of food out of the way and dragged the book closer together with the candle. It was a good a place to start as any.

* * *

He woke up to the sound of birds chirping and a hand on his shoulder.

Cale blinked his eyes open, stared up at the maid standing next to where he had been sleeping with his head on top of an open book by the desk and thought: freaking damnit.

This was not his room, that wasn't his desk and before yesterday, he'd never seen that book or language.

The maid looked worried. "Young Master, are you alright? Do you require any medicine?"

He sat up straight on the chair, cracked his neck and stretched his back. Falling asleep at a desk was apparently a pain no matter where you were or what body you were inhabiting. Cale yawned and looked through tired eyes at the maid. He wasn't sure how long he had been asleep, but he'd been up reading until the sun was finally starting to rise. Through the window, it seemed to be high up in the sky now.

"I'm alright, no medicine necessary," he mumbled in answer to the maid that still looked slightly worried.

"If you're sure." The maid didn't look very appeased, but her worry started to dissipate from her eyes. He counted it as a win.

He asked, "What time is it?"

"It is two in the afternoon, Young Master." the maid responded.

"Oh. Could you bring a clock in here? It's hard to know when to go to bed when I don't know what time it is." Cale asked the maid and very much did not pout. He was an adult. He was above such things.

The look the maid gave him in response said otherwise. He blamed the fact that he was in a different body and couldn't fully control it yet. "Certainly, Young Master. Whatever you require, you need only ask of me. I am your personal servant, after all."

Servant? Did that mean something other than maid? Were they not the same thing?

He was starting to get confused.

"Ah... yes. Thank you." he could only respond as he had. It seemed to work fine after all, and he shouldn't mess with something that worked.

Cale observed the ma- servant as she picked up the tray next to his head and left the room after a final determination that he was okay.

He was very much not alright.

He was in someone else's body for crying out loud! There was no way that he was, in any definition of the word, okay. That was wishful thinking, something that he preferred to stay far away from. It only led to impossible dreams, like when he was a kid and wanted to be an astronaut. His grandfather had crushed that dream with cold hard facts while he was still a child. He'd hated him until the day he died for it and then he'd cried bitterly at his grave at the funeral because he would never get the chance to apologize after he realized that the man had only been looking out for him, if in the entirely wrong way. He wasn't interested in making that kind of mistakes again.

His head made a thud-like sound when he dropped it on the book.

The book he'd spent pretty much the entire night reading with only candlelight was about the history of the Frosthaze family. It started with its rise in a doomed empire, how it had prevailed when many other families failed and detailed their history in many different wars and battles, stories of heroics and failures there within, though there were only a few words dedicated to those who had failed. It then went on to how they had acquired a Lordship in the kingdom they now resided in and their recent success in a war that had ended what was a few decades ago, give or take some years depending on what year it now was.

The name Frosthaze was familiar, but he couldn't recall from where. It obviously hadn't been a very important one if he couldn't remember it.

But still, it annoyed him because he knew that he had read it somewhere before, he just didn't know where.

So annoying.

Cale sat up straight again, stretched his back one more time and rose to his feet. It was time to find something other than what looked like a sleeping gown to wear.

He threw open the door to the closet.

It looked like clothes out of the Victorian era mixed with more modern clothing. He wasn't entirely sure what he was supposed to wear when it came to casual clothing. Well, he'd just go with what he liked best and look clueless if anyone claimed otherwise. He'd learned from his mother that it worked surprisingly often.

His mother may not have known fashion, but she knew how to look like she knew exactly what she was doing and it was the other person who was mistaken.

Cale had picked up a thing or two, one of which was to blatantly disregard other opinions.

So, he picked up a white shirt, a pair of what looked similar to black khaki pants and a black vest. It was probably not summer wear, but strangely, he couldn't really feel the heat. It was odd and unsettling, but until he could do something about it, he'd just have to go with it. He laid the clothes on the bed which had been made and looked even more comfortable than before as he pulled the sleepwear off. The sleeping gown was thrown on the bed next to the other clothes.

Thankfully, the clothes were fairly easy to get into, even if he spent an unnecessarily long amount of time staring at all the different ties before settling on a dark blue one, and so it didn't take him long to dress. Thin socks suitable for summer was found at the bottom of a drawer and then it was just shoes left. He wanted to leave the house and go outside. He needed to get out and breathe in fresh air.

He felt trapped enough as it was.

Finally, he found a pair of shoes at the bottom of the closet, hidden behind piles of clothing.

It was women's boots.

They were black with a two-centimeter heel each and devoid of zippers, rather they had to be tied up with black string. They were pretty to look at yes, but they were still meant for women.

But they were the only pair of shoes he could find, even after spending several more minutes going through the closet. So, wear them he would. He needed to get outside more then he worried for his pride.

He was in a foreign body, damnit! His pride could go to Hell and rot there until he figured out what exactly was going on.

He put on the boots.

His (more precisely, the body he'd taken over) hair was still trapped in the same messy braid that he'd first woken up with. He pulled on the ribbon tying it together until it let go and dragged his hands through the hair to sort it out the best he could. He grimaced when it got caught. He wasn't used to long hair and it was annoying, the way it hurt when he pulled on it too hard. He put the silver ribbon in his mouth as he pulled the hair into what resembled a high ponytail by feeling, as there was no mirror in the room (something else that needed to be added) and brought one hand to get the ribbon and tie it around the hair. He pulled it several times around until he could let go enough to tie it together. He hoped it didn't look too ridiculous, but he was far passed the point of worrying about his hair of all things.

Even if it did look kind of... white in the sunlight.

He left the room and closed the door behind him. Now he just needed to find a door that led outside.

Hopefully, that would be easy.

Cale wandered from hallway to hallway as he made his way down stairs and through both rooms and corridors. The room he had been on was on the third floor, so two staircases down should do it.

Once he was on what he was pretty sure was the ground floor, he started to look at all the doors he passed until he came into a large open room with windows from floor to ceiling and a pair of glass double doors that led into a beautiful garden. The same one he'd seen from his window. He smiled for the first time since he'd woken up in this body.

He walked towards them and when he reached them, he pushed them open. Immediately, he was caught by the sweet fragrance of the flowers, the way the sun glittered through the treetops, and the white-painted porch that he stepped out onto. He breathed in the fresh air deeply and took four long strides, completely forgetting that he was walking in heels until he stood next to the railing and put his hands on the white wood. His eyes shined at the wonderful sight in front of him. The grass was cut short and bright green, with a sparkling blue pond next to the tree-line and a stone path that led from the porch all the way to the forest. The entire garden evoked a feeling of peace in the observer.

A loud gasp broke him out of his musing and he turned his head to stare at the middle-aged woman sitting on a chair on the porch, the stool as white as the rest of it. She stared at him as if he was a ghost.

He really hoped he wasn't.

She stood up with a slack face and the book she had been holding fell to the floor. She took a hesitant step towards him and Cale watched as she seemed to gather her thoughts and finally spoke. "Calla... you're well enough to leave your room again."

Tears started to form in her eyes. "I've been so worried for you, my beloved son."

Cale swore in his head as he finally recognized the name. Calla Frosthaze was a character that died in the book 'Fire & Ice'. Damn it all it to Hell, but he did not sign up for this shit

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Thin Ice


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