It was a very short sleep, that was certain. Daeron was excited, terrified and worried in nearly equal parts, and that made for a very difficult night of tossing and turning. As dawn broke on the dismal morning, the quiet boy rose from his warm pallet, cradling a still snoring Stitch in his arms. Padding on bare feet to the doorway, he pushed aside the cloth covering enough to peek out into the milky haze. It was almost fitting, such a blank world laid before them, visibly and figuratively, blind to what lay ahead for the group.
He stood there for a lingering while, how long he wasn't sure, but he was finally roused from his silent reverie by the squirming bundle of bug and leaves in his arm. Stitch's hood slowly opened, like a blooming plant in the morning sun, and was chased by a long yawning "Sewaaaaaaa~" Daeron smiled softly and rubbed the nubs atop his companion's head, much to the bug's pleasure. "Morning buddy. Got a big day ahead of us."
The morning slowly began for those within the hut, Daeron gladly beginning breakfast for those still sleeping, scratching together a warm meal to help cut some of the chill in his own bones. Stitch was slowly circling a leafy branch by the hearth, stripping it of greenery with an eager and voracious appetite. Soon the scent of food had the rest of the household up and active. Daeron's mother, Tansy Half-Moon, had begun desperately fussing over the boy, trying to make sure he was beyond prepared with advice and fussy primping, while his father, Tunza Stone-Grip simply smiled and gave encouragements to enjoy his first journey, and to bring something back as a souvenir from wherever he traveled.
As the meal concluded and his mother finished fidgeting with the pack he'd prepared the night before, Daeron was still struggling to get her to stop trying to add more furs, one of the family's waterskins, or some other extra item 'just in case'. "Mom-" "But what if you get caught in the snow and get cold..." It was summer, what snow? "Mom...""Are there enough snacks for Stitch? Couldn't you just fit some..." He ate leaves, they were everywhere. "MOM..." "Are you sure you packed your-""MOTHER!"
Tansy flinched a bit and looked a little hurt as Daeron placed his hands on hers gently. He smiled softly, finishing, "I'll be okay. Only a couple of days, then I'm back. I've got my clanmates with me, so I won't get lost." "But..." Daeron figured she was going to worry herself to death if she didn't have something to focus on until he could show how strong he'd become. "Until I'm gone, could you keep my Pidgey safe? When it grows up, we'll get fresh eggs for the tribe. Should be back to see it hatch with you. Promise." The boy picked up the small fuzzy bundle of loose yarn and thread he'd made to keep the bird egg warm and placed it in his fretting mother's hands, kissing her cheek. Tansy cradled the egg and smiled weakly at him, her eyes watery, but no tears escaped.
Picking up his satchel, still a touch fuller than he remembered packing it, he walked to the door till he stood beside his father, who was sipping from his steaming mug and staring outside into the mists. Turning to stare out at the same swirling blank canvas of future manhood, Daeron let out a single slow sigh, echoed by Tunza. "Come back with a good prize and a better tale, huh?" "Nothing less...dad." The scrawny boy leaned against the muscled man and wrapped one arm around his father in a short hug. It was answered with an affirmative grunt and a burly squeeze of the grappler's return grip. Without another sound, Stitch had descended from the ceiling, having caught up with Daeron from above, resting on the boy's arm and the two left to meet up with his clanmates.