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Lady in Brightest White

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“It is too soon,” Indis protested for the umpteenth time, in vain. Her voice barely wavered, this time.  Like every time before, she was ignored in favour of pulling her braids tighter. To force her Vanyarin curls into what the Noldor considered a proper hairdo had always been a challenge, but never more than now. Her mother claimed to be familiar with Noldorin styles, and maybe she had been, once, when they still called themselves Tatyar. Still, with her husband dead and her children gone, there is something very reassuring about Ingamë braiding her hair as she used to when Indis was younger.

“We should not have waited this long. Findis will not leave the fields of Lady Yavanna to sit on a throne she never wanted, and the others will be by Alqualondë soon, and across the sea not much later. Who shall lead the Noldor if not you?”

Indis could not help but look down to Nerdanel, who was crouched before her, brush in hand, covering her skin with intricate patterns in Tatyarin red. Tattooing had fallen out of practice in Valinor, and Indis was glad for it: the customary red hue clashed terribly with her golden skin. For her second coronation, Nerdanel had mixed a different nuance that paid homage to the Vanyarin ancestry of the queen of the Noldor. She looked up, as if sensing the way Indis was gazing down at her.

“You can’t be serious. I did not marry Fëanáro for this!” she exclaimed. With her free hand, Nerdanel gestured, encompassing the entire complicated situation they had found themselves in. “I might not have married him at all if I had known what would follow.”

Indis understood the sentiment. She had felt similarly, sometimes, but in the end, despite the conflicts, she had known bliss, and did not regret her marriage one bit. She knew Nerdanel felt the same. Ingamë interrupted their semi-serious stare-off.

“Sovereignity among the Noldor is contingent on merit, not bloodline, as much as Finwë’s descendants like to forget that. You have earned this crown, my daughter, even if you are not Tatya by birth,” she reminded them. “Although I am not entirely sure about that. You always had a very Tatyarin fascination for botany.”

The lingering tension dissolved at that familiar quip. Ingamë and Nerdanel pinned her braids into place with ornamental pins while the body paint dried. Layers upon layers of formal white robes lay ready for her to get dressed.

“You will do fine,” Nerdanel reassured her as she draped long golden chains across her chest and arms. “You have been queen regnant in all but name since Finwë followed Fëanáro into exile, the courtiers know that. If anyone gives you grief, send them to me. I will be right behind you, for as long as you need me.”