As the Cowboys continued on their collision course with Vixses, Cowboy Roytu had ideas about how his coach should implement him into his battle strategy.
Roytu: Interim Coach Jasonidas, I wish to have an audience with you.
Jasonidas: Very well, Roytu...what is it you want to discuss with me...
Roytu: Well, we've been doing a good job the past couple battles...I know I'm not your number 1 soldier, but I feel as though my performance is worthy of more responsibility in the offense. I'm a talented attacker...why don't you use me more?
Jasonidas: Well, Roytu...you are talented, I'll give you that...however, you lack concentration. Your form is weak, and you don't run routes very well. You do have a good battle from time to time, your war acumen has never been questioned. If I may speak frankly and as a friend, your biggest weakness lies beneath that helmet of yours.
Roytu: I know, Interim Coach Jasonidas...but I can be better! I can become a hero, achieve glory, and finally bring pride to my family, the Longhorn Clan.
Jasonidas: You seem to really want this. I admire that. Fine, we will see if your focus has improved. Dezzalonian!
Dezzalonian, the youngest of the Cowboy soldiers, broke off his nearby conversation with Fe-lix, ran to his coach's side and stood at attention.
Dezzalonian: Yes, Interim Coach Jasonidas, sir!
Jasonidas: At ease, lad. Now, could you go fetch a football for Roytu? We're doing a battle readiness test.
Dezzalonian: Permission to speak freely, sir?
Jasonidas: Granted...but keep it brief.
Dezzalonian: With all due respect, Interim Coach Jasonidas, that is an order I cannot, in good faith, execute. I'm here to claim the Lombardi Grail, not fetch footballs. Let that scrub grab his own balls...it will be a rare treat to see him hold on to one.
Roytu: You dare...you DARE?!
Roytu charged Dezzalonian in a rage at Dezzalonian's completely justified and accurate words, but was held back by Jasonidas. He could have no dissent in his ranks.
Jasonidas: Roytu! You forget yourself. Stand down.
Jasonidas: Ass. Stand down.
Roytu took a glance at the commanding glare in Jasonidas' almost glowing viridian eyes and knew that challenging his authority would be a grave error in judgment. He cooled his fury and complied with Jasonidas' order.
Jasonidas: Now, Dezzalonian...you have had your words heard. True as they may be, you are out of line as a rookie...you will purchase dinner for the entire army at your expense.
Dezzalonian: Yes, sir.
Roytu: And I'm charging you up, rook! By night's end, your purse will be 50,000 Jerry coins lighter.
Jasonidas: Enough, Roytu. Dezzalonian, the ball.
Dezzalonian gave a dutiful salute then went off to get a football. After receiving one from Austintatious, he returned to his coach and handed him the ball.
Dezzalonian: The ball, sir!
Jasonidas: Very good, son. That will be all. Dismissed.
Roytu shot Dezzalonian a glare as he went back over to join Fe-Lix, Wi'ten and the rest of his teammates. He knew that the young phenom had abilities he had never possessed at his peak and would soon have his spot in the charging lineup, if he didn't already.
Jasonidas: Roytu! Look here. If you want to be a focal point in my offense, you must demonstrate skill with your hands. Go 15 paces, turn around, stop and put your hands out.
Roytu did as requested. Jasonidas took the leathery missile he now held and fired it directly at Roytu's chest. Roytu was able to trap it against his body for a clean catch.
Jasonidas: A fine catch. Now, throw it back, take 10 more paces, and turn around.
Roytu: Yes sir!
Roytu again followed orders, but this time, Jasonidas intentionally threw it a bit high, almost over Roytu's head. Roytu reached up and grunted with effort as he tried to catch the slightly off target, but still very catchable pass...but he was only able to tip it into the arms of a passing nomad with his sandstone hands. H
Roytu: But sir...that throw was high!
Jasonidas: This is exactly what I was talking about, Roytu. Not everything will be easy. Sometimes you will have to use your own abilities to turn a less than ideal situation in your favor. Now, get that ball back, give it to me, take 20 more paces and turn around.
Roytu once again did as his coach asked, and turned to face him with a silly, ill-timed grin on his face. By this time, every member of the Cowboy army had seen the spectacle and gathered near Jasonidas to watch. Jasonidas reached deep and fired a long and beautiful spiral pass. The white laces whipped audibly in the breeze as the ball sailed in its perfect arc through the strangely orange sky.
Jasonidas: Go get it Roytu! You can do this!
Roytu sprinted after the still lofting spheroid. Somehow, he was able to get under it in good position to catch it in stride.
Roytu: I got this, Interim Coach!
Roytu ran free with nothing in front of him but endless desolate wasteland. The ball got bigger as it dove like a torpedo towards the scorched earth. The ball appeared to be right on target, and it was...it landed right in his hands.
Roytu: Check it out! I actually caught the--oop--
Roytu bobbled the seemingly caught ball. It bounced in his shaky grasp 5 times before anticlimactically dropping in the dust. Roytu lost his footing, and fell face first to the ground. The Cowboys reacted with a mix of laughter, disgust and pity. Jasonidas merely shook his head, and walked over to where Roytu was still laying in a frustrated heap. He kneeled and put a caring hand on Roytu's shoulder.
Jasonidas: Roytu, you are a decent role warrior. Your capabilities are what they are, and I appreciate them. I would appreciate them more had I not given away so much to obtain your services, but you are an appropriately valued member of this team. However, the fact is you have your limits, I cannot use you.
Roytu: No...you're making a mistake...no! I can do this!
Jasonidas: Roytu, it is what it is. You should be happy you are compensated so well for your mediocre talents. Do you know Dezzalonian makes an eighth of your salary for 4 times your battle production?
Roytu: No...NO! You were wrong, Detroit! I'm not a number one reciever! AHHHHHH! My Longhorn clan...I've shamed them...
Roytu went on with his whole victim thing, but nobody really cared enough to stand around and listen. Jasonidas had more important things to attend to...like the marauders currently heading in their direction.
Austintatious: Maurauders! Currently headed in our direction!
Thank you, Austintatious. Anyway, these marauders came quickly, the horses pulling their chariots leaving a plume of dust in their wake. From a distance, their horned helmets could be seen. The blades of their battle axes sparkled under the desert sun, and their Tyrian purple capes with weird yellow and white striping patterns that kind of make them look like an Arena Football army fluttered in the wind. Every time they came 10 yards closer, one of the marauders sounded some kind of feasting horn for no apparent reason. Before long, they pulled their chariots up to Jasonidas and crew. Then the leader spoke.
Berzerker Webb: Greetings. I am Berzerker Webb and we are the berzerkers from a faraway land known as Minnesota. We come in peace, but only because we do not even have the resources to wage war any more. First, our most powerful warrior, Mossome, was banished for blasphemies against out king 3 days after he returned to us from exile. Then our home was destroyed in a fierce blizzard, so we were forced from where we live to roam the earth. Then our gray-haired leader was killed by the Giant while attempting to draw a lewd cave painting of himself. Bottom line is, we're sort of screwed.
Jasonidas: Well, we're kind of in the same boat...far from home, our homeland in danger, sort of screwed...why don't you and your men join us in our fight against the dog-king Vixses?
Berzerker Webb: Vixses? Yes, he attempts to control the entire NFL kingdom with his power. Do you know he commands an offense so--
Jasonidas: Yeah, yeah...I heard the sales pitch earlier. You in or out?
Berzerker Webb: Ah, screw it...we're not doing anything else. Come on, boys, let's go kill Vixses!
With a final blast of that annoying horn, the marauders saddled up and rode off, not to be seen again until the plot required them. As Jasonidas watched them ride into the sunset, he wondered what the next day would bring. The Cowboys slumbered, and were awoken in the morning by the sound of deep battle drums. The pounding was accompanied by a rumbling of the earth itself...tremors that vibrated the entire desert. Was it an earthquake or...
The grand amalgamated army of Vixses approached. It was instantly apparent who it was...he rode in on a giant green bandwagon carried by slaves. Even in the distance, his menagerie could be seen, but as it came closer the magnitude of the upcoming challenge became apparent. He and his own personal guard, the Phillymortals, presented a full days work on their own...but his army was flanked by his auxilary forces from far-flung corners of his kingdom like Indianapolis and New Orleans.
Jasonidas: Vixses is coming! Cowboys! At arms!
The Cowboys gathered their weapons and prepared for what could be the hardest day of the war so far. The great and powerful dog-king Vixses...and 2 of the greatest armies in the land! How would the Cowboys survive this challenge? Jasonidas pondered whether he was leading his team to slaughter, then Vixses' procession stopped a distance away. Most of his soldiers, and everyone not carrying his bandwagon stayed behind. Only he, the slaves and his 3 top liutenants, D'Shon, Shadium, and Maclon escorted him further.
Jasonidas: Cowboys! Hold your guard!
Wi'ten: That's not enough for an attack...maybe they just want to talk things out.
Jasonidas: We shall soon see.
Jasonidas watched as the big green bandwagon rolled slowly up to him and his men. It stopped a short distance away from the Cowboys, then Vixses slowly stepped down off of it on the backs of his slaves. Here, in person, was the dog-king Vixses. His crowned Anubis mask with a goatee left little doubt to his identity. He wore a spiked gold dog collar and shiny golden jewelry which dangled on his brown skin. He descended, and approached Jasonidas, only to be cut off by an eager Cowboy soldier, Tashardius.
Tashardius: Hey, Vixses...big fan, man...can I get your autograph?
Vixses: Anything for a fan.
Vixses then snapped his fingers, and a spear flew in from somewhere in Vixses escort and impaled Tashardius through the face. This caused all the Cowboys to immediately enter defense mode.
Jasonidas: What the--
Vixses: Do not be so rash. I have given him what he asked for. Look closely.
Jasonidas peered closer at the spear now sticking point-first out the back of Tashardius' head. Indeed, there was Vixses autograph, right on the shaft.
Jasonidas: Well, I'll be damned. Guess he did bring that on himself. Anyway...
Vixses: Jasonidas. I have heard much about you. You and your Cowboys. You have traveled far to protect your homeland. Been through some rough times. I can sympathize. I respect your efforts...and that is why I am willing to reward you.
Jasonidas: A reward, eh? Let's hear it.
Vixses: You fight to defend your Palace at Arlington. Keep it. We only want to march through it to climb Playoff Mountain and claim Lombardi's Grail, after that you can have it back. It is pointless to resist. Why stand in my way? Jasonidas, listen to reason...all you and your men have to do is kneel.
Jasonidas: Kneel, eh? Well, that's gonna be hard. You see, my men are going to have cricks in their knees from kicking your ass...so kneeling...gonna be kind of impossible.
Vixses: You insolent--I am the dog-king Vixses! I command an offense so powerful, it can score 4 touchdowns in 8 minutes! I am a redemption story so compelling, I will be spoken of for all time. You think there will be glory in your defeat? Even if you beat me here, you'll never make it back to Playoff Mountain. Why, why...even to speak the name of the twentyten Cowboys will become a crime, punishable by ridicule! Do you see the forces I command?
Jasonidas looked over Vixses shoulder and saw his warriors. Along with his Phillymortals and bandwagon carriers, he was also accompanied by a blue and white squadron led by a large-foreheaded general who kind of looked like the Giant, but in more commercials...it was the famed General Peytonian! On the other side of Vixses' guard, there were a black and gold-suited group of paladins. The leader of that regiment wore a golden 9 emblem front and center on his robe to distinguish him (the birthmark on his face would have been identification enough, but Jasonidas can't see that far) ...general of the holy warriors, General Breesus, the last man to seize the Lombardi Grail! They also brought strange beasts...hogs of an odd burgundy hue with yellow manes and phoenixes risen from Arizona. Truly, Vixses had amassed a terrifying collection of opponents for a struggling army.
Vixses: Can you not see that you are helpless in the face of my unstoppable power? Please...use your reason. Accept my generous offer.
Jasonidas: Well, Vixses...you are as generous as you are...unstoppable. I'm gonna have to decline, though.
Vixses: Foolish bravado. Have it your way, Jasonidas. D'shon! Go send word to my armies to prepare for battle!
D'shon: Yeah, I'm on it...and I'm gonna do it in an unordinary way!
D'Shon, instead of simply walking over, did some kind of elaborate forward rain dance as a method of locomotion. Vixses turned to look at him and shook his head.
Vixses: Is that really necessary, D'Shon?
D'Shon: Hell yeah! Damn, look at me! I got that ill swag.
Vixses: Today, D'Shon.
D'Shon: Yeah, yeah, I'm on it.
D'Shon, around Running Man/dice roll/pop lock #15, was about three-fourths of the way there, which would have been okay if it weren't 10 minutes later.
D'Shon: Okay-kay-kay, I'm almost there...now for the big finish!
D'Shon took a stance like an Olympic gymnast and prepared for his grand finale. Pretty much everyone else, including Vixses, just rolled their eyes. He then took a running start and launched into a series of ærial flips...
D'Shon: Yeah! I'm a mofo monster! I can't be stopped, I can't be contained, I can't be--
...until his rain dance worked better than he expected. D'Shon was struck by a bolt of lightning midair and reduced to a pile of showboating ashes.
D'Shon's ashes: Damn...that stung my ass.
Vixses: Enough of this...my forces, ATTACK!
Vixses' forces, which were apparently in earshot the entire time, charged as one. The warriors on coltback, holy warriors and Phillymortals all rushed at the Cowboys with the intention of ending their season. It was a lot to deal with alone...Jasonidas, however, had one trump card in his sleeve.
Jasonidas: Berzerkers! NOW!
The berzerkers, hidden in the cliffs until they were needed, charged out into the fray, they ignored all others on the field of battle...they had a single target in mind.
Berzerker Webb: Now, my fellow Berzerkers...show the Cowboys what we can do!
The Berzerkers all made a beeline for Vixses himself. Mac-lon and Shadium tried desperately to cut off the vicious assault, but to no avail. All three were theroughly beaten by an unexpected oppenent. As he picked himself off the ground for what seemed like the 13th time, Vixses, a man who fancies himself a god (if he listens to ESPN) felt a very human limp travel up his leg. He rolled over on the ground in time to see his army clash with Jasonidas' Cowboys...and see Berserker Jarrulius Allen pop up and do his little jig after landing on him yet again. Jasonidas saw the combined forces of Vixses army bearing down on him and knew there was little hope...but surrender was never an option.
Jasonidas: For glory!
Jasonidas: For our fans!
Jasonidas: So everyone can stop calling me "Interim Coach Jasonidas!
Jasonidas led his army into battle against the Phillymortals and Vixses auxilary forces. The brutal struggle raged for days. Jasonidas was outmanned and outgunned, but tried to hold up anyway. Some Cowboys were lost...they were few, but each lost was a brother, a cousin, or a star rookie reciever on a kickoff return. (See you next year, Dezzalonian) The bold Cowboys held their own against some of the most elite forces the NFL kingdom had to offer...but fatigue was setting in.
Jasonidas: PUSH! We can hold them here! All you have, boys!
Jasonidas could sense the will in his team to win, but the forces of Vixses were simply too much. The Cowboys could hold them little longer. At one point, Jasonidas' kitnablade, that served him so well after Romomentous IX was destroyed, met a similar fate. Finally, Roytu fumbled his shield and the phalanx was broken. Before Jasonidas even had a chance to berate him, he was gutted like an overrated fish by Jen-kong, a holy warrior under General Breesus. It was a critical error...now the Cowboys could never reach Playoff Mountain.
Jasonidas: You see why you're not starting? You can't make a play to save your life! Let's have a great day today, men...for tonight...we dine...in OFFSEASON HELL!
All plans shattered, the Cowboys simply fought until they perished in battle, one by one. Austintatious, Dezzalonian, Fe-Lix...all were lost. Vixses' ranks dropped in number as well, but he was safe in the locker room after being rescued from the Berzerkers' thrashing by his top advisor, Papyrus Reid. He would make it safely to Playoff Mountain...but that day he learned...even a dog-king can bleed. The Cowboys suffered grave losses that day, but gave as well as they took...finally, only the reserves for the Phillymortals, Jasonidas, and Wi'ten were left to fight. Bold Jasonidas and Wi'ten held off the Phillymortals scrubs...they were winning the battle, but the war was lost. Vixses had used the time they were fighting to summon all the other pilgrims to Playoff Mountain, who now stood, hundreds strong, on a cliff face surrounding and overlooking the battle scene. Every member of all 12 armied had bows and arrows cocked and loaded (the Aegean Seahawk Army used Nerf arrows, but it's the thought that counts).
Vixses: Jasonidas! I will give you one last chance...lay down your season and let my backups go!
Jasonidas: Vixses! Come and get them!
Jasonidas punctuated his sentence with a slit of a prisoner's throat with his emergency weapon, the Dagger of McGee. Vixses was incensed. This man had dared to defy him again and again. This was unacceptable. He must be made example of. He shook his head at Jasonidas' brazenness, but had to stop...he was still kind of woozy from the beating he had taken. He regained his composure and gave the order to fire. All at once, a fusillade of razor sharp arrowheads (and a few foam rubber ones) burst forth from their weapons and soared through the air, momentarity blocking the sun before plummeting towards their targets.
And so Jasonidas, his Cowboys, and their season died that day..but they played like warriors and laid down for no opponent, Colt nor Saint, Giant nor Eagle. As the bold warriors sprits faced the mighty, erupting flames, toruturous playoff games that don't involve them, endless mock drafts and incessant, pointless speculation by ESPN that make up the necessary torments of banishment to Offseason Hell, the Cowboys knew that despite the lost season, the true fighting spirit they showed in the later battles would serve them well when they were resurrected for new life in the coming season.
They would be rejuvenated...stronger...vivified with newfound strength that will doubtless be found under the competent guidance of Jasonidas, the reforging of Romomentuous IX, and a new resolve alloyed stronger than Spartan shields by a season of humbling adversity (the 9th pick in the draft won't hurt either). The twentyleven Cowboys would truly be a force to be reckoned with...and so, I implore you all...true Cowboys supporters in all corners of the country, those who ensure that each piece of the internet they touch will run deepest blue with their own fanatical blood, 1-15 OR Super Bowl...every diehard member of the Blue Star Brigade on every inch of Landry's green earth...hold your heads high this day! Put on that Star, raise your fists to the heavens, and bellow the immortal war cry that has echoed in the highest mountaintops and deepest crevasse of the world since the dawn of 1960...GO COWBOYS!