Floating memories, Those good and those bad, still recurring. He had no other company here, always alone. Sometimes he felt someone's presence, but all spirits were silent, living through their memories. Otherwise, there was darkness here. And calm. An almost painful feeling of calmness. He felt numb. Deprived of body spirit didn’t feel anything. Imprisoned in his memories and thoughts.
He didn’t know how long it lasted. Sometimes it seemed to him like if he was here for eternity, sometimes it felt like a moment. Bodiless void lasted until he heard a voice. Voice of the Vala.
GLORFINDEL, ARE YOU READY?
He didn’t know what the voice was asking about, but immediately through his mind went impressions. The sight of blue, cloudless sky, the warmth of the sun on skin, wind in his hair, the smell of grass Something he didn’t feel for so long, having only faint memories. The promise of rembodiment.
ARE YOU READY?
The voice once again sounded in his mind. Now he knew what to answer.
Yes! I’m ready!
He wanted to feel grass under his feet and wind in his hair. He was tired of the void. This numbness. Although sometimes, when memories returned he still felt fear. But this wouldn’t stop him. He always was fearless.
Void around him swirled. It seemed to him like if colours appeared around him. After a moment he lost consciousness.
* * *
He woke up, feeling a tingle in his fingers and toes. He moved and opened his eyes. He was laying on a bed, dressed in a white robe. He felt cold, smooth silk from which his outfit was made with every inch of his skin. Sun shone on him from the open window, pleasantly warm. He was alive! He felt it with every bit of his body. The pleasant smell of flowers came to his nostrils. He got up. He was dizzy, but in a moment he regained his balance. He was in the room, almost empty but his bed and table on which stood vase with flowers. Outside the window, he saw a beautiful garden in which he could see some figures. The door to his room opened and some man in grey robe entered.
„Welcome Laurefindel. I’m Hithwa, Maia of lady Estë. I will help you to accommodate”
„Where am I?
„In the house of my lady. You can stay here for as long as you wish or leave this house immediately and meet your relatives. Come on, I will guide you to the rest of the Returned.”
They left the humble room to enter the more ornate hall. On walls hung tapestries depicting various scenes. Glorfindel didn’t pay attention to that. He was too focused on the feeling of wood under his bare feet and touch of silk robe on his skin. They entered a bigger room where were several elves. All were dressed in white robes, the same as Glorfindel’s. Probably they also just returned from halls. He didn’t know anyone of them.
WELCOME! In chamber resounded voice. The tall woman who was standing on the platform had spoken. Estë. WELCOME IN MY HOME. HERE YOU CAN BE FULLY HEALED AND STAY AS LONG AS YOU WISH UNTIL YOU WOULD DESIRE TO REJOICE WITH YOUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS.
In hall fell silent. Elves looked at each other, in need of understanding. Glorfindel smiled. So he wasn’t the only one who came back to life. Others also looked a bit confused but soon they also smiled. Lady Estë left the platform and passed between them, giving everyone a smile. He felt warm in his body when she passed him.
Glorfindel decided to leave the house of Estë as soon as he could. He spent enough time in the tranquillity of halls of Mandos, he didn’t desire to be anymore separated from normal life. Besides this, he was curious how many of his friends already came back. Did Ecthelion wait for him already? Or maybe she would have to wait for him? His parents stayed in Aman when Glorfindel and his younger sister decided to leave so they were already waiting for him. He approached Hithwa and talked to him. Maia was surprised Glorfindel didn’t want to stay longer but didn’t oppose. He promised his family will be summoned as soon as possible.
“They probably would be shocked that you come back so soon”
“Soon? What year it is?”
“1 year of Second Age. About 585 years after the Return of the Noldor to Middle-Earth. It was only 75 years since you died. Not many had been reembodied so soon.”
“Second Age? Are our struggles with Moringotto over? What happened to our people?”
“Yes, there are over. I’m sure your family would tell you everything. You may also visit the house of Vairë where are tapestries with all deeds of your people recorded. Do you wish to do so?”
“Yes, please. I want to know” although he was a little bit frightened what he could see there.
“Come with me.”
Hithwa brought him outside. Garden in which stood the house turned out to be Lórien, the garden of Irmo. Glorfindel admired the beauty of this place, although he was eager to know the fate of his friends. He knew his sister died in Fall of Gondolin, and he thrilled for this memory. Maybe she already returned, just as him… Although he didn’t hope for this. Hithwa said he was rembodied very soon, and he didn’t believe so much joy would fell upon his family. Especially he didn’t see his sister among the Returned in the house of Estë.
Halls of Vairë were bigger than he remembered. Although he was here only once when he was very young. Maybe halls actually were bigger. He noticed one woman who returned alongside him was also here to find out what happened when she was staying in Mandos.
He quickly passed tapestries which depicted what happened when he was alive. In truth, he didn’t know what was happening in Aman and had very limited information about events outside the borders of Gondolin, but he wanted to know what happened to his friends. To people who he helped save.
He saw everything that happened. Treason of Maeglin, the cause of the Fall, flight of his people who had found the safe place in havens of Sirion, attack of Feanorians and Elwing with Silmarils on her chest flying to her husband. Eärendil, who he helped risen, coming to Tirion and meeting the Valar, battles with Morgoth and fall of Beleriand. Many faces he knew on dead, many stayed in Middle-Earth. He felt anger, but also he was proud. Proud of Eärendil, proud of many who fought this battles.
Next day his family arrived. He saw them for the first time since he crossed the Helcaraxë. There were his parents and older sister, who stayed with them in Valinor. But younger one, Lavarindë, was nowhere to be found. She probably still was in Mandos, which filled his heart with sadness. His family had tears in eyes when they saw him. His mother even cried on his sight. Words of happiness were no end. Only questions about his sister overshadowed the joy.
They brought him to the city. The tumult that surrounded him was overwhelming. Only the presence of his parents and sister by his side was comforting. He saw some familiar faces, and they stared at him with surprised. As his family told him, he was one of the first that returned from Mandos. Only Finrod from everyone who died in Middle-Earth already left the halls. He was granted special privilege, close to this granted to the prince of the Noldor. He was very proud of this. Also, he felt physically stronger then he was before reembodiment.
They reached their house. Thankfully it stood where it stood when Glorfindel saw it last time, but otherwise, it was completely changed. As all city. It was hard to expect it would look the same after more than 500 years but Glorfindel was a little bit disappointed. After all, Gondolin looked the same through all years of its existence. The memory of the city he dedicated life on exile was saddening. It was lost forever. And now there was only water… But he had to live now, not trapped in memories. Place of memories was in the hall of Mandos.