An unknown voice violated my unconsciousness. I moved away from it, mentally; I didn't want to wake up, yet. Oblivion was warm, safe; peaceful.
The voice called again. I had no idea whose it was, but somehow I realised it would not leave me alone.
I opened my eyes. There were what felt like tree branches stuck in my back. I didn't know where I was; I couldn't remember how I'd got here, or even why I'd ended up unconscious in the first place. I didn't know how long I'd been out, but something told me it was a long time. The land was barren; a few dead trees, but not much else.
I struggled up into a standing position. I'd been lying in the open; my tent wasn't far away. My first thought was to whistle for the boar. It took a few minutes, but he came running. He was thinner than I'd almost ever seen him, and mangy; but he was alive, and thrilled to see me. For the moment, that was enough.
I got to my feet, somehow packed up the tent, found a nearby track, and began to stumble along it. I'd need supplies; fortunately I still had a bit of gold, somehow. I didn't know how it hadn't been stolen.
I wasn't sure how long I walked for; I was still in something of a daze, but eventually I came to what looked like an inn, of Orcish architecture. I was glad; I needed something familiar, and was in no shape to fight.
I went inside, to find an old Orcish woman tending bar, and occasionally fussing around the fire. Nobody else seemed to be around, but for that I was glad.
"Ancestors, you look like the walking dead!" she said to me. "Where did you stumble in from?"
"I woke up at a camp site up the road," I pointed vaguely outside in the direction I had come.
The woman's eyes narrowed briefly, but then she shrugged, and gave a gutteral laugh.
"I'm guessing you'll want some boar meat," she suggested.
I nodded wearily, and reaching into my old pouch, brought out a couple of gold coins. "And some hot cider."
She laughed again at that. "Yes, you look like you could use it!"
A few minutes later, I took a couple of halting mouthfuls of the cider. The spices were welcome; the heat felt like it was literally bringing life back into my body. As I ate, I asked the old woman for recent news.
"There's all kinds of chaos going on," she answered. "Most are still trying to find our feet and get things back together, after the Cataclysm."
"The what?" I asked.
She narrowed her eyes again, for a longer moment this time.
"Where have you been, that you don't know about that?"
I shook my head. "I wish I knew. But what can you tell me about it?"
She sighed, and began to talk. My eyes widened at some of the details, and as I listened, I realised that things had apparently become very interesting.