Something about this strange poem made it stick in your mind. 'Configurations guided by the tiger, burn bright as the cauldron bubbles in the night. The cogs whirl their graceful dances, but they grow tired unless, they drink of the water infused with sulphur.'
A note, probably written to the author as a reminder. 'It will likely break the machine but with a pair of flawless rubies, and care to leave the clappers and cauldron out of the process, the tiger might be able to manage a reconfiguration of the user instead of itself. It might be worth investigating after my preliminary studies into flight dynamics are finished. Maybe... insects!
You found this strange excerpt from a diary; the pages were torn from the book but kept together as if they were an important secret. "In his raving, my husband talked of madmen with eyes of metal and of a strange island in the skies. His words frightened me, but none more that when he clutched my arm, suddenly lucid. "It's the tiger", he said, fever burning in his eyes. "The Tiger feeds on the stone of the cow, torn from the bovine's innards. All but the cogs and watching... waiting and active... waiting for the tiger to feed" after his recovery, my husband remembered nothing of his journey or of his ravings except one..."
This strange schematic has had better days, the paper's ragged at the corners. While the page is filled with doodled diagram, including one for a device that seems designed to colorize rice for easy sorting, the majority of the space is taken up by a single notation: 'Foul smelling water must be purified of the taint of a rotten egg. Only the water wheel and the applauding stack can manage it, even then only with the dragon's help.'
You stumbled across an obscure diagram, that seems to indicate a configuration for a machine. A small stone with medical runes surrounding it seems to be a key component. The rest of the diagram shows a connection between some sort of lightning enshrouded globe held by a mechanical arm, which seem linked to a pagoda or pyramid-topped machine belching smoke, which in turn seems connected to a series of large gears. The diagram has series of dragon etchings in the corner whether of not they're related is hard to say.
You found this academic leaflet and kept it. The crux of the argument reads, 'To think that any machine could be designed around these principles of starting motion with a tiger, of all things is to dally with utter madness. As if this were not enough no machine made by the hands of man can be fueled by iron infused with nickel. The resulting metal, while strong, is inert to reactions. Even application of electrical current and the introduction of chimney smoke into a mechanical cauldron, as proposed, produced no appreciable result.
You found this obscure set of instruction and copied them down on a hunch. 'Iron is made stronger through the ally, and nickel binds well to make a sharp blade. It can also be a reactive fuel, but certain configurations must be preserved. The dragon watched over the controlled lightning, while the cogs spin dutifully on their own.