A warrant is an order directing law enforcement to arrest someone. As long as it is there, it is "active." It only becomes "inactive" by an order quashing it. Then, technically, it isn't inactive but just gone.
A warrant may include what states the issuing state will come get someone from. My guess is the warrant doesn't include whatever state you are in. That is, cops might find it and ignore it because it is a waste of time to hold someone on a warrant when the issuing state won't come get them.
So, who told you it was inactive? As a general rule, if someone tells you something that doesn't make sense, ask THEM to clarify it.
What are the laws in North Carolina regarding
10 year old "inactive" warrants?
No laws that benefit a defendant. Warrants don't expire. Statutes of limitation govern the filing of a charge, not activity on a warrant. In any event, statutes of limitation are almost always suspended if you are outside the state.
You need to consult an attorney in NC. Your right to appointed counsel doesn't apply until questioning or you are arrested on the warrant and arraigned.
You should recognize that the state might have tremendous difficulty prosecuting a crime from 10 years ago. Police officers leave agencies, retire, get shot, etc. Civilian witnesses, same thing, but fewer shootings.