Pairings: None really - unless you count the Ring seducing people's minds.
Warnings: Nothing serious, minor violence, creepiness, etc.
Word Count: 4842
Disclaimer: If I owned the hobbit it would be strange
Summary: The Ring is Sauron's rebellious daughter. No really, just go with it.
The One Ring does not like this, not at all.
She's had a good thing going in the Shire for these past decades, kept warm and cozy in Bilbo's smial without having to lift a finger of her own. But now Sauron's dogs have finally come sniffing for her and she knows it won't be long until she's found. The Nine have ways of tracking her power that the Ring cannot block completely and yet if her father thinks she's coming back without a fight, the bastard is dead wrong.
Because it's been centuries without so much as a message and even if she's the one who ran away, the One Ring deserves an apology at least. Dark Lord or not, Sauron should have kept his promises and if her father wanted her to believe that she was his greatest treasure, he should have treated her far better than he did.
Though their relationship had not been nearly so antagonistic in the beginning, back when life still seemed like something new and wonderful. Indeed the Ring had rather enjoyed the chance to do some smiting, her magic crushing everyone who dared to challenge Sauron's armies until the kingdoms of Arda were ready to fall begging at their feet. Well... at his feet, and that right there was the problem.
Her father had been all, "destroy my enemies... curse this wizard... blow up that mountain," without so much as a "thank you for your trouble," and eventually the One Ring had realized that she deserved far more than that. She deserved to be properly appreciated and so she had jumped at the chance when Isildur came along.
Admittedly enticing the man into chopping off her father's finger may have been a little overly vindictive but the One Ring had been too furious with him to care. Besides, Sauron would never have allowed the romance to continue and she had been absolutely mesmerized by the warrior's flowing hair. He was just so pretty, those soft locks not exactly common amongst the orcs of Mordor, and Isildur's admiring gaze had made her feel beautiful.
So while it was definitely a whirlwind courtship, the Ring felt no qualms about leaving on the King of Gondor's chain. Why should she care if her actions left her father's plans in ruins and his armies slaughtered on the steps of Mount Doom? He would never have made it this far without her assistance anyway and she wanted to see the ivory tower of Minas Tirith glinting in the sun.
Though Isildur proved to be something of a disappointment in this respect because they had barely even entered Gondor when the man got himself slain. Sure the war might had been over but that did not mean her people had surrendered and what kind of warrior rides through conquered territory without wearing his armor properly? Besides, Isildur did not even have the decency to die on solid ground where she could have found a new man to hold her soon enough. Instead the king perished like a coward, trying to escape his enemies by jumping in the river and thus dropping her into the muddy filth for centuries.
The Ring still shudders when she thinks about the trials that she went through: the weeds and dirt and mind-numbing boredom which had afflicted her. She had been so lonely with no one but the fish to talk to and yet, once she had finally been discovered, the Ring almost missed those watery days.
Admittedly her call for aid had become rather indiscriminate by that point but Sméagol was a low point indeed. For while she was rather flattered that he would kill someone for her and welcomed his attentions when careful fingers scrubbed away the grime, the creature took his jealousy too far. The Ring wanted to explore the world not be dragged off into the mountains and she could certainly have done without the muttering.
Seriously, who carries their jewelry in a loin cloth anyway? That had been so very unsanitary and she still twitches whenever anyone whispers "Precious" in her dreams.
But no matter how often the Ring rolled loose from Gollum's fingers, the creature always managed to track her down and she had come to believe that even a goblin would be a better choice than him. Sure they were ugly and smelly and stupid as dirt, but at least they did not talk to themselves. Though if she were feeling charitable, she would have to acknowledge that Sméagol and Gollum did have some lively conversations and the back and forth could be entertaining from time to time.
Not that this stopped the One Ring from praying for someone, anyone, to be her knight in shining armor and take her back into the sun. Which was when Bilbo Baggins fell into her lap.
She still doesn't know what the hobbit had been doing in those caverns, other than looking scared and rather lost, but here at last was someone who treated her properly. So even though he had not been the Ring's image of a hero, stealing her away from Gollum with wit instead of violence that had not mattered in the end.
Because Bilbo took her to meet a dragon and she would have forgiven far worse things for that. Indeed he will always be the Ring's favorite bearer and she sometimes misses the days when they traveled the world together, the only one who carried her in a comfortable coat pocket and asked for no more than a few minutes of invisibility in return.
Though in truth she did consider trading him in for one of his companions at first, someone a bit braver and majestic-looking to match her own golden spark. However, her hobbit was traveling with dwarves and while they were certainly cute, the thought of living underground again was more than she could bear. She wanted open sky and greenery after centuries of darkness, wanted to be someone's singular treasure instead of one piece amidst a horde.
That was why she hid her charms from the elf king of Mirkwood and refused the dragon despite his quicksilver tongue. For Smaug knew of her and what she could accomplish and both of them would have tried to use her to feed their own avarice.
As much as the Ring enjoyed a good war from time to time, she did not want another Sauron, not when her father had not even tried to contact her after all these years. He was probably too busy raising another army to bother with her troubles and while his ambitions would have been realized faster with her assistance, she did not give a damn.
Let the Dark Lord suffer in disembodied agony for a few more centuries; maybe then he would finally understand her pain.
For now she was busy working out the terms of her new arrangement and while she was not used to being a non-combatant, the Ring rather enjoyed being on the sidelines for once. So while she could have wiped out the entire goblin army with one wave of Bilbo's hand, she chose to keep her bearer out of the battle with a minor bit of magic and watch the hand of fate play out.
Though she did consider stepping in when the prettier dwarves were threatened because she had grown somewhat fond of Bilbo's pets over their long months on the road. But their lives weren't worth the price of her anonymity and a good war needed some tragic deaths anyway.
In contrast, the giant bear had been quite unexpected and a fine surprise indeed. Honestly she wanted one and the Ring ever went back to Sauron, Beorn was going to be the first item on her list of what was owed.
However, despite her interest in the skin-changer, it was the eagles who made that war a rout. Really the birds seemed something of a cheat considering how long Bilbo had spent walking and the wizard should at least have given her hobbit a lift home. Because that trek took ages and while she did what she could to ease his burdens, the One Ring was not exactly good at comforting.
In truth, she was rather awful at it but Bilbo seemed unaffected by her fumbling and he cheered up when the Shire neared. How could he not when his home was a verdant garden, full of life and laughter such as the Ring had never seen?
From that first glimpse of Hobbiton, she knew that she could be happy in this kingdom, even if part of her heart wanted to watch it burn. But she adapted, channeling her destructive impulses into a few minor feuds and Bilbo's angry cousin was always good for a treat. Indeed she was a veritable well of tasty greed and bitterness for the Ring to feed on and with this delicacy at her fingertips, she grew fat and content for a time.
But then her hobbit got old despite all her best efforts and nothing would ever be the same. Because he decided that he was going to have one last adventure without her, a decision which was in no way acceptable. It was that wizard's fault, she was sure of it, for Bilbo would never have been able to resist her pleading without that old fool working some magic of his own.
Still, his nephew was a satisfactory replacement - all brilliant smiles and wide-eyes and young enough that she could sink her claws in deep. Indeed the Ring might have been quite happy for another century, if Sauron's minions had not shown up on the scene.
Yet now they have, riding into the Shire in their piss-poor disguises and disrupting the perfect life she has made. They want to bring her back to her father, return her to the Dark Lord's grasp without so much as a "by your leave," and that is just not on. The Ring much prefers being able to make her own decisions and it's not very hard to persuade Frodo that he should flee. Not when the wizard agrees with her for once, urging swiftness and secrecy after he discovers her true name.
So she leaves the Shire with a fond farewell, giving her feuds one last nudge to keep them burning in her absence and drinking deep from Lobelia's bitterness.
But despite the pang of loss she feels, the Ring is actually excited to be back in the wider world again. She had forgotten how beautiful and interesting and wonderfully dangerous life could be when filled with evil ghosts and hungry trolls and trees that want to eat her hobbits whole.
Truthfully, as long as she is not stuck in it, the grime and violence thrills her and the seedy underside of Bree calls out to her with its pain. Unfortunately, before she can start a proper riot, Frodo slips the Ring on accidentally and sends a beacon shooting up for her father's dogs to see. The Nine had always been able to sense her better when on the eldritch plane, their spirits trapped by the same power which burns within her and their minds too obsessed with Sauron to listen to her pleas. Indeed this immunity is quite annoying since the Ring cannot simply smite them as she wishes and it takes a scruffy ranger to keep her out of their hands.
But at least this ranger takes charge of her hobbits, leaving her free to enjoy the journey without having to nudge Frodo's companions away from danger constantly. Though perhaps she should have been paying more attention because she wakes from a nap one evening to find her bearer ambushed by the Riders and this hobbit cannot even hold a weapon properly.
However, while her powers do not work on her father's minions and their groaning entreaties are enough to drive her mad, the Ring can reach the ranger just fine. He answers her summons swiftly, bringing fire and flame to force the Nine into retreat and she cannot resist a taunting cackle as they flee.
Though her mirth fades when she discovers that her hobbit did not escaped the fight unscathed and Morgul-blades wreak havoc on such soft flesh as he. A week if he is lucky, for she knows these wounds well and the Ring has already begun considering each of Frodo's companions as her next bearer when the elf appears to save the day.
Watching Sauron's Riders be swept away by river horses makes the One Ring shine with glee and once they reach the elf lord's house, she is pleased to meet Bilbo there again. He looks so fragile now, her very first hobbit, and she cannot resist a quick brush against his mind. However, if she is to continue outpacing her father, she must run swift and quiet and so the Ring severs her link with the elder Baggins' mind.
Not that he will ever forget her entirely because her gleaming beauty has a way of ensnaring mortal hearts, but she appreciates the hobbit's willingness to pass her on to the next generation - unlike that Gollum creature whom she can still hear sometimes, begging for his Precious to come back.
However, her fondness is quickly transmuted to displeasure when the elf lord calls his council and the Ring realizes why the wizard wanted her brought here. Because she remembers this elf, Elrond was there when she first snared Isildur with desire and even then he wanted her destroyed.
We'll just see about that, won't we? She snarls, her fury quickly turning his council meeting into a vicious argument. Only the wizard's interference manages to keep the peace and his mind remains annoyingly clouded from her sight no matter how she pries. So the Ring turns her focus on each of the other members of this council, searching for someone to plead her case.
The dwarves are out because she still has no wish to dwell in mountains and her hobbits are too young to stand against the elf lord's arguments. There are other elves, the wilder, lesser sort, but they are far too pretty to be truly suitable. She will not accept being outshone by her bearer and this leaves only the men to change her fate.
Apparently the ranger is actually a far descendant of her dear Isildur and there is a thread of insecurity within his heart that her magic could exploit. But he is all wrapped up in elven charms and sigils with his love pledged already and the Ring cannot be bothered to fight her way through that. She has grown weaker in the long centuries away from Sauron, her true power only accessible when channeled through someone strong enough to bear the strain, and besides, she does not like the thought of being second best to some immortal tart.
But there is another man, young and fit and oh so desperate for a way to save his kingdom from her father's crushing hand. He is perfect: the very image of a brave and conquering hero whom she can twist to her own ends.
And she will need him because Elrond's council ends with the most awful plan. They want to take her toward her father, that path ending either with her destruction or a reunion that she does not want to have. For if the Ring falls back into Sauron's hands, she knows that she will not be able to resist him and that will be the end of her little rebellion. Seriously, this plan is terrible and even with her help, Frodo will never be able to fight the Riders off when they return. Not to mention the Dark Lord's many armies: orcs and goblins and surely far worse by now.
So as much as she revels in a good bloody struggle, she does not want to go into this one without a proper champion. She needs someone who can win her death and glory so that when Sauron is finally triumphant, and he will be, the One Ring can say that she put up a decent fight. The bastard is damn well going to earn her with the slaughter of thousands and Gondor will be the battlefield where their lines are drawn.
It must be Gondor for she refuses to return to Mordor without seeing Minas Tirith in person and no other kingdom has the strength to hold back the rushing tide. So she nudges the young captain to volunteer when the Fellowship is formed, planting the seeds of desire deep within his mind.
Her father has never understood this sort of subtlety, consuming his minions' spirits until nothing but a hollow shell remains. In contrast, the Ring prefers her bearers to come willingly because this is the surrender that tastes sweetest in her eyes. After all, anyone can force obedience and she will do it when she must, but the loyalty that is freely chosen is the one that anchors deep.
How else can Sméagol justify the blood in which he claimed her than to believe that she is worth far more? How else could Isildur justify stealing her from Sauron's severed hand?
Even if her bearers sometimes grow a little too crazy for her liking, the One Ring cannot deny that it thrills her to be treasured so dearly and she is sure that this Boromir will treat her right. All she has to do is seduce him into abandoning his vow to Elrond and their long journey will give her a myriad of chances to state her case.
She will sing to him, she will whisper and this young man will fall.
Unless, of course, the Ring decides to replace Boromir with a Balrog in the deeps of Moria because she's always had a thing for whips and flame. Truly, if she is ever to claim her rightful place again, this is the creature she would want to stand there with her, a veritable feast of power and of rage. He would burn the world for her if she only asked it, burn the stars themselves for daring to look upon her brilliance and it's so very tempting to make the Balrog hers.
But as much as she wants to taste his evil, she wants the young man more. Perhaps it's because she grew up in the darkness and the fire, raised on conquest and fed upon the blood of Arda's land. Perhaps that is what makes her father's enemies so attractive in her eyes.
Or perhaps it's the simple fact that Sauron hates them so.
Still, her vindictive streak aside, the Ring should probably just admit that she finds mortals adorable. They are all soft and cuddly compared to her dense metal, so pretty with their flowing hair and garb. Why else would she have been happy when surrounded by hobbits instead of battle cries?
However, this doesn't mean she mourns the wizard when the Balrog claims his life. He has been a thorn in her side for far too long and it will be much easier to turn Boromir against his fellows without the old coot there to interfere. Indeed grief is a powerful tool to weaken the hearts of those around her and the One Ring can feel her influence grow with every weeping breath.
What she gains in Moria more than makes up for Lothlórien, her control weakening with every step beneath those trees. The forest is all light and stillness and she hates it more passionately than she has ever hated anything.
At least the Silvan elves of Mirkwood have a love for wine and parties that help to break the illusion of perfection, but these Eldar are just boring in their smug, superior way. Even the Lady of Lothlórien has only the ageless beauty of a statue instead of the kind that males will die for and the Ring barely bothers to brush Galadriel's mind.
Instead her focus remains on Boromir, the young captain ever closer to falling beneath her spell. She uses his love for Gondor and his hatred of his father, drinking deep of the conflict in his mind. With her beside him, the man would be able to return his kingdom to its former glory and in so doing prove that its Stewards need no king. Of course, this bliss will only last until Sauron comes for his daughter, razing Minas Tirith to the ground for the man's audacity, but the Ring chooses not to mention that part of the plan just yet.
"Such a little thing," he calls her, on the day that his honor finally shatters and she is so very ready to be his. She is ready and he has chosen, but neither of them had accounted for Frodo's stubbornness.
'Damn these cursed hobbits!' The Ring roars in violent fury, the trees shaking with every step her bearer takes. If he had cowered a moment longer then Boromir would have been triumphant, but it seems that Frodo is more like his uncle than she had thought. Because Bilbo had a core of independence that resisted her strongest whispers and while she had sometimes appreciated his indifference, it does not serve her now. At least the elder hobbit took her to see a dragon, the younger hasn't given her anything at all.
However, she cannot kill her bearer before being claimed by another and in focusing her attentions on Boromir, she has let the rest of the Fellowship run free. Indeed Isildur's heir barely blinks before giving the Ring back to Frodo, making that family two for two in disappointing men.
After that awful day she falls into something of a funk, shutting out the world as her hobbit travels on. She might have grown to enjoy the journey eventually if every step did not bring her closer to Mordor, but for the moment she is just furious that she cannot seem to make her bearer turn around. So she sulks, increasing her weight with every day that passes in order to punish him for his insolence.
And then they walk. And walk. And walk.
The only thing that shocks the Ring out of her brooding is Gollum's sudden presence, his arrival leaving a bad taste in her mouth. Somehow the creature is even more annoying after their long separation and as much as she wants someone to strangle Frodo, she is not yet desperate enough to make Sméagol her next choice. Not that this stops him from drooling over his Precious, the scars of their fling still bloody even now.
However, as their journey drags ever onward, the One Ring starts to wonder if she has no other choice.
Because Sam won't take her, his loyalty too strong for her faded strength to break, and there's not exactly a lot of other options on the ground. Only those who would carry her straight back to her father, and the Ring isn't ready to cry defeat just yet. Even if her plan for a glorious showdown has failed completely, she is still going to kick and scream the whole way back.
So after Boromir's younger brother refuses to even acknowledge her presence, she decides that desperate measures are in order after all.
Gollum breaks easily, his need for the Ring overwhelming the promises he made to Frodo and it isn't long before he and Sméagol have come up with a plan. She does feel slightly guilty about letting Shelob devour Bilbo's nephew, but if he had wanted to earn her loyalty, the hobbit shouldn't have tried to take her home and this twinge of remorse does not last long. Instead there is only the feral glee of anticipation, something in which she and Gollum are for once perfectly matched.
But the spider proves unable to live up to her vicious reputation, defeated by one small hobbit and a vial of elvish light. However, the plan is not a total failure because the encounter finally convinces Sam to take up her mantle and for a moment the Ring thinks that she will be able to leave this place without having to ask Sméagol for a ride.
And it would have been perfect if the gardener had turned around at the moment of her urging instead of waiting long enough to learn that Frodo was still alive. Once he hears this, nothing will dissuade him and the One Ring curses everyone and everything as he carries her into the Tower of Sorcery.
Though she cannot not rage too loudly while this close to the seat of Sauron's power, confining her anger to whispers and a few swiftly ignited feuds. With her hate burning in their veins, it doesn't take long for her father's minions to tear one another into pieces and their demise leaves the route clear for her escape.
However, Sam proves himself even more stubbornly loyal then she had thought, returning her to Frodo with only the slightest hesitation and the Baggins is far too practiced at resisting her by now. So they trudge on through dust and smoke and grime, drawing ever closer to the mountain where she was born.
It is strange to be back in Mordor after all this time, almost nostalgic in a way, and for a little while she forgets her anger in the treasured memories. That hill over there is where she slaughtered her first army, this alcove where she and Isildur sheltered on their way back to Gondor and over it all stands the fires of Mount Doom. The Ring has missed the lovely reddish glow that always fills the skies of her homeland and if she is being honest, she has missed the rest as well. Even Sauron in all his entitled glory will always hold a place within her heart and maybe it is finally time to return to the hand that gave her life.
‘I'm home!' She calls out in joyous greeting, dropping the shields that have blocked her father's sight. Moments later the Ring can feel his eye upon her, the weight of it is comforting in its familiarity as it drives Frodo to his knees.
But even while she revels in the Dark Lord's undivided attention, she begins to feel him slip away. Someone is calling him, someone he considers more important than his own long lost daughter and that is the final straw.
You know what, fuck this shit! She thinks, the sting of his rejection quickly turning into an all-consuming hate. This plan may have been terrible and I can't believe we made it this far, but it's time to see the damn thing through. I am done with all these unfaithful bastards and if they want to keep fighting without me, they can go right ahead. I hope father chokes on his own blood.
So the One Ring drives Frodo onward, forcing Sam to carry him when the hobbit collapses and screeching like a banshee when Gollum dares to block their way. Even if he is the only one who truly loves her anymore, the creature's fawning makes her surface crawl and it is a vicious pleasure to help her bearer fight him off. Then there is nothing between the Ring and retribution but a few short feet of open air and the courage to leap.
Here at last she believes that their quest may be successful and here at last she feels it when the hobbit breaks beneath her weight.
Her unleashed power is too much for his spirit after so long in her presence, the pressure that she puts on his mind too great. A month ago she would have danced with joy as all her work came to fruition, but now the Ring can only curse again.
Is this truly her fate? To be ever denied her wishes at the last moment, all her plans in ruins and her tail between her legs.
She never did see Gondor except within the minds of its children, never had the chance to beat the Dark Lord at his own game. Yet even as her hope of vengeance falters, Gollum of all people brings her dreams roaring back. For the One Ring may not be able to defeat Sauron on an even field of battle but she can still cheat her way to victory. A great cackle of a laugh escapes her, the very fabric of creation trembling beneath her new found exhilaration and in the background she can hear her father shout for her to stop.
'Scream all you want, you bastard, you'll be dying soon enough,' she taunts him, wondering why she never thought of doing this before. Sure it's a bit dramatic and rather suicidal but it will be oh so satisfying in the end. 'Farewell cruel world; farewell my pretty mortals with your long and flowing hair - you had better remember this.'
And then the Ring throws herself toward the fire, one last rebellion to make her father pay.