I played my second game last night. Having lost the first with tactics deck I wanted to try the vanilla leadership deck. Here is my story.
Aragorn had been travelling far and wide south of Tharbad under the guise of Thorongil, when he received a message from Gandalf to make for Mirkwood at once to aid him if he could. He had wanted to look further into some Dunlending raids that had stirred up on the Western Rohan frontier but time would not permit. He sought out Theodred's camp to tell him of his need to depart.
"What brings you back from scouting so soon Thorongil?" Theodred asked as the ranger approached. Aragorn explained he had urgent business in Mirkwood and must make haste.
"Then you must take some of my scouts with you, at least as far as the edge of Rohan, and I will aid you with supplies as much as I am able," said the young prince of Rohan.
"As always I am in your debt," Aragorn replied.
He made the preparations and departed at once with three swift scouts assisting him and the guidance of Theodred for the swiftest paths across the land. He planned to skirt Mirkwood to the southeast to avoid getting near Dol Guldur. Its power seemed to be resurging of late and Aragorn had no time for such a trial when Gandalf was in need.
Days passed and the scouts finally reached the crossing of the Anduin Theodred had recommended. This would border them into Northern Ithilien, but he had no choice if he wanted to cross easily. They were only a few days in when they encountered some scouts from the realm of Gondor. Recognizing the men of Rohan the rangers were keen to let them pass but asked of their intentions. When Aragorn stated they were heading to Mirkwood at the behest of Mithrandir, the captain spoke up and identified himself as Faramir of the house of Denethor. He offered guides to lead them through Dagorlad and gave them much aid to speed them on their quest.
Before long the party reached the southeast edge of Mirkwood and began seeking the forest road. The threat of the giant spiders who roam mirkwood was foremost in Aragorn's mind until he began to find strange markings along the path. Creatures of a kind that did not belong in Mirkwood appeared to be traveling in packs together. That could only mean one thing to Aragorn, some Beastmaster from Dul Guldur must be searching the woods for travelers. With these threats on his mind he decided to strike directly for the path of the forest road. As they neared it, one of his fears came to light, a bulky forest spider dropped down in front of them. But before Aragorn could reach, a cry was heard calling the spider in another direction.
"Khazad-ai-menu!" Aragorn heard as the spider turned. Aragorn ran and saw the spider slashing a dwarf of venerable stature. The dwarf was wounded but still standing resolute. With the spiders back to Aragorn he quickly made short work of it and attended to the dwarf. Aragorn discovered it was none other than Gloin of the 13 that travelled with Bilbo.
"There you are ranger, I was sent this way to scout for any news by Gandalf," said Gloin. "I have a trove planted nearby and can aid you in finding your way through the woods. I have scare off many of the spiders, but this one seems to have gotten a piece of me."
With few words Aragorn pressed on, reaching the Forest Road and making for the Forest Gate as quick as they could. They came to a fork in the road quickly due to the scouts and the training they had under Faramir. But Aragorn was worried still about the beastmaster that stalked him and with the aid of the others laid himself as bait. As he had hoped the Beastmaster attacked prematurely and being a little too far from home was not as supported by his evil allies as he might otherwise be. Aragorn rose after taking a minor wound and sent the Beastmaster to his foul maker.
With the prowess of the scouts and Gloins knowledged they chose the correct path in the road and navigated away from any other spiders and their leaders. Arriving safely at the end they found Mithrandir waiting in a clearing.
"Excellent, you are here, we have much work to do!"
The saga will continue tonight!