Author's Note: I'm finally posting this! It's been sitting in my hard drive since I wrote it for Teitho in... September? Wow. Much thanks to Dearheart for beta-ing this. And supplying the reference to the verse.

Dedicated to a firstborn sister, lol. You'd better be grateful I missed the Teitho deadline... I would have so beaten you :P

His hand hovers over me. He wants me, I know he does, everyone wants me, and I want him. What I want I will have, because I am the One.

I feel the blood pulsing through his hand, feel the beat quicken as his mind works, and I slip my thoughts into his life's stream and whisper my desire to his consciousness.

Come to me... come, take me. I want you... I have chosen you, you are the one I will make great...

I promise him sweet lies, and I know that he hears me, because I know who he is, who his fathers were, and I know he will take me.

And then I will take him.

I will take him to the one who dares call himself my Master, that ignorant weevil who would usurp my place, he who fears this mortal man. It is said he created me and I am his, but his is not true - I existed long before he did, long before I wore this golden body that I slipped onto his finger to posses him, to enslave his soul. He thought to forge a Thing of power and use it for his purposes, but he does not know that no power comes from Things.

I am no Thing - but I am power.

Next to me there is nothing on this Middle-earth that can stand, no force of land or sky or water that is greater.

Soon this world will be mine, as it almost was those many years ago on the plains of Dagorlad.

An age has passed since then, while I rested and waited for the times to turn - and they have come full circle.

I will take this son as I took the father.

How long I searched to find him! How hard I worked to bring him!

How simple it will be to bind him.

He is but a man, and only a shadow of what Isildur was; even now his fingers come closer and I feel the longing in his heart to touch my cold golden flesh. I feed the desire, because a simple touch cannot harm him, surely; it will merely satisfy his innate curiosity and then he will be able to back away, free and distant and unaffected, because how can an object of such beauty be the incarnation of evil? And when he touches me and finds that I am good, he will want more of me, and is that so wrong a thing, to lust after what his heart desires most, to want to do good for the ones he loves, to use the power that is so readily and easily offered?

I will give it all to you, I tempt him again, and so I will. Before I take it all back.

Use the power of the Dark Lord against him, drive out his armies of orcs, cleanse the lands of evil and unite the people as brothers, for this is the power of the One who has chosen you, and you have been seeking after one such as this for all your days, have you not? So touch, take ... you want... you wish... you will be welcome to is waiting for you...

A bead of sweat falls from his fingers and I taste victory in that sweet drop. He is mine now, and I will drain his humanity from him, drink his royal birthright as I did his ancestor's, drown him in his own despairing greed as he realizes at last that I never give, I only take. I will ask everything of him and he will quickly surrender all in his lust for my power. I will lend him enough to intoxicate him and suffocate him in his own selfishness, and then I will revoke my favour and leave him to rot in the filth of his own making.

I need no Man to carry me but I wish to have this one, for in the death of Hope is my life.

Closer, come closer, I tell him. Just a little more.. only one touch, only one, only One...

I see the tumult in his mind, I see longing horror dreams hauntings doubts beliefs past present future destiny as everything falls apart and is reshaped into a grand vision of wants, pretty pictures in the air and wheels of time whirling to the driving rhythm of his heart's longing. He sees all he ever sought for brought to its fulfillment in me, he envisions the reward with no estimation of the price.

Take me, I am your birthright, your due as the heir of Isildur who carried me...

And then one soft word enters his ear in an elvish voice: Estel.

Estel! Estel is hope and hope is from one I hate, and I recoil at the repulsive word that grates upon my very nature. It strengthens him, though, for this word is his name and the name is the man.

His muscles tense and stop, the sweat dries from his hand and he starts to move it away from me.

I cannot comprehend this.

He would refuse me?

He would challenge the will of the One?

A mortal man defies me?

What I want I will have.

I unleash my fury against his tired mind. If the earth trembles at the gaze of an Eye, what can a mere man do against the rage of my being?

Like a tide my anger flows over him until he is left helpless and tumbling, washed away without an anchor...

No one resists the One, I scream. No one is like me, no one is greater on this earth, no one can match my power...


It is the voice again, speaking the deplorable word, lending desperation and intensity to the fight of the man.

NO! he thinks, NO, and I collide against the ferocity of it as if I have smashed against the face of a cliff, a face of sheer strong stone unwilling to budge the smallest fraction.

Yet even rock shatters with the force of a flood. I am not the One because I am powerless.

I am because I am the greatest One ...

NO! his mind rejects me like a thing foreign. You are not the one I serve! You would take the place of the true One, Eru Iluvatar, Father of All, but you are lesser than him and are a created being even as I, and next to him you are NOTHING, NO-ONE!

My wordless agony at the terrible names overwhelm me and I lash out in power in an attempt to drive away the echo of the Words.

I AM THE ONE!!! I rage, flinging my will wildly at him in an effort to posses him.

There is only One and you are not he! Isildur's heir jerks away his hand and steps back out of reach, out of mind.

I burn, pulsing madly in my violent throes, dismayed.

Only once before was I separated from my prey, when Narsil shocked me from the black hand. Isildur took me from the Dark Lord before I could finish consuming him and replacing him – but I was revenged upon that man.

And now the son of his sons confounds me?

He faced me even as Isildur did, looked into the depths of my heart, the reflection of the violence of his desire, and he did not love me. Is the folly of men so great that he would refuse out of ignorance and fear, or are they grown strong from adversity?

What is it about this man that they name him their hope, that Sauron himself fears him?

I fear no man.

I fear nothing, no ...

NOOO!!! So this is how he resists! He calls not upon his own strength, but that of another who is much greater than he, much greater than...

I writhe at the remembrance of the truth and shun it from my thoughts. I will not be defeated by mortal or immortal, least of all by one whose father I owned. And I will never bow to the one this man serves; instead I will fight to overthrow him and bring devastation on what he has created.

I will not stop my quest for blood, my bid for mastery of this earth - and no Hope of men can halt me.

I am the One who will rule them all.

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7