By Nerrok

"You've been out for quite a long time."

Nerrok heard the words, but he didn't know who or where they were coming from. Other than the sound of the gruff, though strangely soothing voice, all he was aware of at this point was the swirling darkness he seemed to be swimming in, even as he opened his eyes for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Eyes shifted and attempted to focus with futility, their sensitivity to light after being closed for so long unbearable. He opted to just keep them closed for now as he went about the process of feeling himself out; testing muscles that had long ago atrophied. His entire body ached with a dull, throbbing pain which only intensified as he attempted to move.

"Easy. Stop moving. You've still got wounds healing."

Nerrok growled blindly, though he was forced to obey the voice that spoke out of necessity. The simple action of craning his neck to see who was talking had tired him out to the point that his head fell back onto the wool blanket that he had been laid out on. From what his vision could gather, he was in some sort of darkened cavern, lit only by torchlight.

"Who...Who are you...? Where am I?", Nerrok's voice cracked as he spit out the words, vocal chords dried and weak from non-use. He eyed the figure that was sitting perhaps 5 feet away from him, barely able to make out his silhouette. He identified the person as an orc, judging from his size, but couldn't make out much more than that; the distinct shine of long, shaggy gray hair hung down along the figures shoulders, and he hunched over slightly as he sat. As Nerrok slowly but surely began to shake away the deep slumber he had been locked in he became aware of more parts of his body that throbbed with different levels of pain. From what he could tell he had at least two broken ribs on his left side, and perhaps one on his right. That seemed like the most serious of his injuries, the rest attributed to soreness and general lack of use. He couldn't shake the strange, groggy feeling that seemed to envelope him though, as if some type of fog had descended over his mind. It was almost like being intoxicated, but without the pleasant feeling that usually accompanied his rum binges.

"Most people that know me call me Konak. As for where you are, you're in southern Nagrand. You're also lucky to be alive...", the old orc trailed off, chuckling slightly before he picked up where he left. "Damn lucky that cat was strong enough to carry you as far as he did."

Nerrok coughed slightly as he stared up at the cavern's darkened ceiling, trying his best to fight the urge to move, to test the limits of his broken body. As he listened to the old orc's words, he slowly began to recall the events that transpired before he had blacked out, so long ago."Voodoo...?"

"Oh, so that's his name? Yeah...Big cat, black with white stripes. He's stayed by your side the whole time you've been out. Him and that mean looking raptor...I've got him tied up outside." The gray-haired orc laughed again, shaking his head slightly. "You've got quite the entourage."

Nerrok smirked slightly. He'd have to remember to feed both of his pets well whenever he managed to get out of here. But for now he had to figure out what the hell was going on. "How long have I been out...?"

Konak narrowed his eyes slightly at the question, tilting his head to the side as he examined Nerrok thoughtfully. "Eh...I'd say at least 3, maybe 4 months. It's easy to lose track of time out here. I found you when I was out hunting...That cat and raptor were dragging you towards the stream north of here. I just happened to be along the bank at the right place at the right time. You had arrows sticking out of you like a pin cushion; I dunno how you managed to make it for as long as you did, 'cause they were coated with enough poison to take down a full-grown kodo bull. I brought you back here and patched you up as best I could...Treated you with the best cleansing alchemy I knew how. You've been pretty much comatose the whole time. I knew it was only a matter of time before you woke up, though..."

Nerrok remained silent as the old orc spoke, trying to recall the details of the fight that had lead to his present situation. Again he tried to rise to a sitting position, but the stabbing pain in his abdomen that greeted him sent him down to his back again with a groan of pain. "I...Owe you..."

Konak grunted, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "No worries. You seem like the type that pays his dues, when he's able...", he replied, a toothy grin creasing his wrinkled green features during the process. "That poison's still there; you're gonna be sluggish for a while yet. I suggest you take it easy and get your bearings before you go doing anything drastic."

Nerrok closed his eyes, deciding that it was best to follow the old orc's advice for now. He wouldn't be able to make it out of this cave in the condition he was in now...But it wouldn't take him long to get back in fighting shape. Visions of his wife with their unborn child, along with the voice of his adopted daughter floating through his mind, ghost-like, caused the hackles on the back of his neck to rise in grim determination. He would start the recovery process tomorrow, bright and early...pain be damned.

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