Despite living in Bree-land, Gaeded had been rather absent for the past few months, barely making any appearances at The Thirsty Boar or at The Black Steel's Barracks. Even in Bree-town itself, her presence had been rare. No one knew what she was doing, as she rarely ever seemed to be at home, or if she was, she wouldn't answer the door.
What had she been doing, in the time of her absence?
Nothing, really. It was infuriating. She didn't know what to do. It made her feel weak and soon that weakness took over. She hid from the world to try and hide that she was lost. She'd lost her passion, her drive. She didn't want to travel, like she'd done when she was younger. The images of herself riding alongside Lieta, leading the company of Athlenah, Phaewyn, Aeirillen, Fiontann, Orsonn, and many others that joined them for some time, haunted her. She was so strong then, and although she'd been broken, she still persevered. The time she spent captured by Dunlendings and the mutilation she'd received at the hands of Pren was an ever constant reminder of that and every time she looked in the mirror and saw her scars, she cursed herself. For being so weak now, when she was strong enough to survive then. If she found herself in that situation now, she knew that she'd just give in and die. She loathed that, but at the same time she knew in the past, she was driven by anger. After everything she'd lost in the war, she felt no need for anger. Being surrounded by the darkness of war had made her realise that it was not worth getting angry at her own misfortune when others had suffered so much more.
It was not just the war that had worn her down, no... After returning to Bree-land, to reunite with The Black Steel, she'd decided to take the company on a journey to Gondor. She wanted to show them those lands, but it was selfish of her really. She just wanted to show them the effects that the war had on those lands and was a subtle plea to help her. They were excited to see the distant lands, but the road made them weary and soon they forgot why they were even travelling to Gondor. What's worse, was that Sigfread, who insisted to join them, saying that they needed his skill, undermined Gaeded's every decision, telling her that she was doing the wrong thing. She smiled and put on a farce, to keep him happy, especially after he harshly berated her for the choice of route. She began to feel like she had no skills to lead anymore. She didn't understand how the woman who'd led The Black Steel alongside Lieta was now getting questioned at every moment by someone who was supposed to have a lot of experience.
Eventually, Gaeded found a way to return the homesick members of The Black Steel home. She eventually followed them. She had felt lonely being left in Gondor with a few of the others, even though she wasn't really alone. She thought going back would help. It didn't. Things just got worse. Now, she decided it might be best to return to Rohan, to her family. That might help heal her. But to find the willpower to make the journey? That would be a challenge in itself, so now she has resigned herself to the Barracks, in a bid to try and force herself to find it.