Ciel stumbled over the threshold, pulling with him Sebastian, who had hold of his coat collar. Sebastian smoothed Ciel's collar flat, and with a flick of his wrist slammed the door on the icy swirling whiteness behind them.
"A definite change of venue," ventured Ciel. They looked around at the coarse wood-planked walls, covered with peculiar contraptions of leather, wood, and metal. It was dimly lit by the embers of a fire and a small lantern on a crude bench that seemed to be doing duty as dining table, kitchen area, and workbench.
"Viscount Pettiwit has a reputation for dabbling in the Dark Arts," Sebastian said. "Perhaps he is not such a dilettante as we assumed, if he can open a portal to the Northern Hells."
Ciel shivered, the air much colder than the overheated ballroom they came from. "Is that where we are?" he asked doubtfully.
Sebastian's eyes flared red as he concentrated. "Perhaps not," he murmured finally. "There is an aura of…pleasantness and civility emanating from the landscape that is somewhat inimical to such as myself. But, Young Master, we must take stock of our situation before you freeze."
Ciel's teeth had started chattering, so when Sebastian indicated a dark mound in the corner, urging, "The bed will warm you fastest," he eagerly took three steps towards it before baulking. "It stinks!"
"Rancid bear fat," said Sebastian, with the air of a connoisseur. He added apologetically, "It will be significantly warmer than standing here until the fire is built up." Grumbling, Ciel insinuated himself under the layers of furs, and turned to watch the demon.
Sebastian coaxed the fire to full flame with some wood piled by the fireplace. A dented tin pot filled with snow scooped from outside soon rested on an iron stand in the fire, slowly melting into water. He located the food stores of the prior tenant and was shortly able to offer Ciel tea.
As Ciel sat up, almost lost in the large bed's furs, Sebastian inspected the remainder of the small shack. He tilted his head at the sound of yelps and howls outside, and looked at one particular tangle of damp leather hanging on the wall.
"Wolves?" inquired Ciel.
"Sled dogs," Sebastian corrected. "A common form of conveyance for humans in areas subject to prolonged snow and ice." A short lecture on the history and utility of sledding as a means of transportation ensued as he took the opportunity to play tutor. Ciel absorbed it with his usual concentration, absently handing his cup to Sebastian several times for more tea. It was a rough, cheap sort of tea and there was no milk, but it had become tolerable with the discovery of a stoneware crock of honey. He turned the conversation back to their immediate situation.
"So," Ciel said, "as Lizzie threw her tantrum and opened a door to shove me in a closet while my butler was petting a cat--"
"I did attempt to catch you before you crossed the threshold," Sebastian reminded him.
"--she somehow activated an occult portal that transported us…here. What has become of the previous occupant?"
Sebastian considered for a moment. "It would depend on the rules governing the portal when it was created, but I suspect that he was exchanged for us." They both paused to envision a bewildered trapper, dressed in more furs, reeking of rancid bear fat and wet dog, stomping around the Viscount's elegant, candle-lit, mirror-lined, parquet-floored ballroom.
Ciel gave a happy sigh and nestled deeper into the furs. "Tomorrow you will find a way to get us home," he said imperiously.
Sebastian thought about the five dogs he could sense curled up outside, and hitching them up to a foreign contraption in order to travel through snow; he reminded himself that a Phantomhive butler was equal to any challenge. He finished removing his coat and bowed. "Yes, my lord. Please move over."