A/N: My first shot at a Sue-slaying fic. There will be more chapters after this one. Reviews are welcome.

On the night Iosef left home, it was darker than it had been all season. The first moon of winter, nearly invisible in the starless sky, hid behind the clouds, which were delivering a slashing rainstorm to the sparse forest below. In the distance, thunder crackled menacingly, promising to cross the far-off mountains and visit the plains Iosef was striding through, though the muddy ground should have significantly slowed his advance. His eyes, a perfect, deep brown, gleamed through the downpour, and his fur hadn't at all become sodden or drenched. At his side hung a katana, beautifully polished and engraved with magical runes and he bore a beautiful, sky blue satchel, adorned with intricate designs portraying birds and flowers. His well-developed muscles were evident even through his mithril chainmail, and he seemed to dance over the wet ground, each step light yet determined. He knew exactly where he was going.

At the edge of the wood, ready to jump the oncoming mouse as soon as he wandered into their grasp, were a dozen stoats, weasels and ferrets, teeth bared savagely at the thought of the spoils to be had, the blood to be spilt. As the mouse's shape drew closer and closer, though still shadowed by the darkness and the rain, a somewhat voice crackling like leaves on a fire hissed through the thick air.

"If Ah were ye, esteemed robbers, Ah would leave this place as quickly as Ah could." The dozen heads turned to behold a cowled figure holding a walking stick. They couldn't make out its features, but knew instinctively that the speaker was vermin, as they were. As such, they didn't immediately try to rush it, but preemptively drew their weapons. The creature pointed with one long, clawed finger at the advancing figure. "Yon young lad there, that ye are on the verge of waylayin', is what one would refer to as a Mary Sue, or Marty Stu in the case of a lad such as this. Need Ah say more?" The mustelids shuddered, nodded thanks to the hooded beast for its rescue and vanished into the woods, greatly relieved that they hadn't stuck around to interact with certain death or... Sparkling.

The figure, not yet satisfied, moved to stand at the treeline, planting its feet and walking stick in the soft ground. Iosef eventually came within speaking distance, and stopped, noting the presence of the cowled being before him. He opened his mouth to hail the stanger, but the other spoke first.

"Katanas dinnae exist in this world."

Iosef felt as if the stranger had punched him in the gut. It continued, a wry smile on its shadowed snout. "Magic is occasionally implied, but ne'er revealed. The runes on yer weapon are absurd." The mouse felt a burning sensation in his chest, and recoiled, trying to draw its sword. The stranger stepped after him, using his walking stick to maintain stability. "Yer eyes should be tired and dim. Yer fur should be soaked and lie flat against yer cold, wet body. Yer muscles are disproportionate tae yer body mass - by all rights, ye should look downright ridiculous. And if it weren't fer the Sparkly cloudin' me vision, doubtless ye would." At this, the mouse turned and tried to flee, just as the mysterious speaker snarled his last verbal attack.

"The ground is wet and slippery, and yer paws should 'ave nae great traction on it. Know imperfection, Stu. Feel the burn o' reality!"

Iosef slipped, fell face first into the mud, and began to writhe, shrieking like a banshee, as his eyes lost their luster, his fur suddenly darkened and lay flat, his weapon dissolved and his muscles rippled one last time before shrinking, becoming proportionate to his body, yet somehow becoming less aesthetically pleasing. The stranger seemed to revel in the Stu's discomfort, claws tightening around his walking stick and a cruel grin crossing his features. After nearly a minute of Sparkly-dissolution, a water-logged, muddy-furred, rather scrawny mouse in a plain tunic lay facedown in the muck, with a leather knapsack and a shortsword lying beside him. He groaned, his voice muffled by the earth in which his face rested, slowly pushed himself up to all fours, resting on his hands and knees. Iosef, now far from perfect, looked up at his saviour, wondering who could possess the power to wrest the perfection from a Sue.

Staring down at him, face visible from Iosef's current perspective, was a gray fox with a long scar running diagonally across his visage. A smile and narrowed eyes, conveying a less-than-friendly sentiment, gazed down at the transformed mouse. They stared each other down for a long minute, the rain never easing, until at last the fox spoke.

"Can ye handle that sword?"

The mouse's brain scrambled with the suddenness of the question, and managed, "Kind of."

The expression on the fox's face became one of amusement. "Are ye willing tae learn?" Recognizing this as an invitation, and being hopelessly lost and confused anyway, the mouse nodded quickly. Now the fox's smile became genuine. "Rise, then. Ah'll teach ye tae fight, lad, and tae do much more n' that, if ye'll follow meh." As the fox turned and began to trudge back into the woods, Iosef rose as quickly as he could, almost slipped, then righted himself, gathered his pack and shortsword and began to follow his saviour into the trees.

Into Mossflower...