Many dragonologists who had previously been skeptical now joined the iconoclasts. Engineers calculated that a huge projectile could be made of this material and launched with sufficient force to penetrate the dragons armor. However, the manufacture of the needed quantity of the composite material would be expensive. A group of several eminent engineers and dragonologists sent a petition to the king asking for funding to build the anti-dragon projectile. At time when the petition was sent, the king was preoccupied with leading his army into war against a tiger. The tiger had killed a farmer and subsequently disappeared into the jungle. There was widespread fear in the countryside that the tiger might come out and strike again. The king had the jungle surrounded and ordered his troops to begin slashing their way through. At the conclusion of the campaign, the king could announce that all 163 tigers in the jungle, including presumably the murderous one, had been hunted down and killed.
They said that humans were far too heavy to fly and in any case lacked feathers. And as for the impossible notion that the dragon-tyrant could be killed, history books recounted hundreds of movie attempts to do just that, not one of which had been successful. We all know that this man had some irresponsible ideas, a scholar of letters later wrote in his obituary of the reclusive sage who had by then been sent off to be devoured by the beast whose demise he had foretold, but his writings were. Meanwhile, the wheel of invention kept turning. Mere decades later, humans did fly and accomplished many other astonishing things. A few iconoclastic dragonologists began arguing for a new attack on the dragon-tyrant. Killing the dragon would not be easy, they said, but if some material could be invented that was harder than the dragons armor, and if this material could be fashioned into some kind of projectile, then maybe the feat would be possible. At first, the iconoclasts ideas were rejected by their dragonologist peers on grounds that no known material was harder than dragon scales. But after working on the problem for many years, one of the iconoclasts succeeded in demonstrating that a dragon scale could be pierced by an object made of a certain composite material.
Humanity is a curious species. Every once in a while, somebody gets a good idea. Others copy the idea, adding to it their own improvements. Over time, many wondrous tools and systems are developed. Some of these devices calculators, thermometers, microscopes, and the glass vials that the chemists use to boil and distil liquids serve to make it easier to generate and try out new ideas, including ideas that expedite the process of idea-generation. Thus the great wheel of invention, which had turned at an almost imperceptibly slow pace in the older ages, gradually began to accelerate. Sages predicted that a day would come when technology would enable humans to fly and do many other astonishing things. One of the sages, who was held in high esteem by some of the other sages but whose eccentric manners had made him a social outcast and recluse, went so far as to predict that technology would eventually make it possible to build a contraption. The kings scholars, however, dismissed these ideas.
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There were registrars who kept track of whose turn it was to mentorship be sent. There were people-collectors who would be dispatched in special carts to fetch the designated people. Often traveling at breakneck speed, they would rush their cargo either to a railway station or directly to the mountain. There were clerks who administered the pensions paid to the decimated families who were no longer able to support themselves. There were comforters who would travel with the doomed on their way to the dragon, trying to ease their anguish with spirits and drugs. There was, moreover, a cadre of dragonologists who studied how these logistic processes could be made more efficient.
Some dragonologists also conducted studies of the dragons physiology and behavior, and collected samples its shed scales, the slime that drooled from its jaws, its lost teeth, and its excrements, which air were specked with fragments of human bone. All these items were painstakingly annotated and archived. The more the beast was understood, the more the general perception of its invincibility was confirmed. Its black scales, in particular, were harder than any material known to man, and there seemed no way to make as much as a scratch in its armor. To finance all these activities, the king levied heavy taxes on his people. Dragon-related expenditures, already accounting for one seventh of the economy, were growing even faster than the dragon itself.
It was not uncommon for a girl to be pregnant by her sixteenth birthday. Couples often spawned a dozen children. The human population was thus kept from shrinking, and the dragon was kept from going hungry. Over the course of these centuries, the dragon, being well fed, slowly but steadily grew bigger. It had become almost as large as the mountain on which it lived. And its appetite had increased proportionately.
Ten thousand human bodies were no longer enough to fill its belly. It now demanded eighty thousand, to be delivered to the foot of the mountain every evening at the onset of dark. What occupied the kings mind more than the deaths and the dragon itself was the logistics of collecting and transporting so many people to the mountain every day. This was not an easy task. To facilitate the process, the king had a railway track constructed: two straight lines of glistening steel leading up to the dragons abode. Every twenty minutes, a train would arrive at the mountain terminal crammed with people, and would return empty. On moonlit nights, the passengers traveling on this train, if there had been windows for them to stick their heads out of, would have been able to see in front of them the double silhouette of the dragon and the mountain, and two glowing red. Servants were employed by the king in large numbers to administer the tribute.
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To what extent these arguments convinced the review worried souls is not known. Most people tried to cope by not thinking about the grim end that awaited them. For many centuries this desperate state of affairs strange continued. Nobody kept count any longer of the cumulative death toll, nor of the number of tears shed by the bereft. Expectations had gradually adjusted and the dragon-tyrant had become a fact of life. In view of the evident futility of resistance, attempts to kill the dragon had ceased. Instead, efforts now focused on placating. While the dragon would occasionally raid the cities, it was found that the punctual delivery to the mountain of its" of life reduced the frequency of these incursions. Knowing that their turn to become dragon-fodder was always impending, people began having children earlier and more often.
but to obey its commands and pay the grisly tribute. The fatalities selected were always elders. Although senior people were as vigorous and healthy as the young, and sometimes wiser, the thinking was that they had at least already enjoyed a few decades of life. The wealthy might gain a brief reprieve by bribing the press gangs that came to fetch them; but, by constitutional law, nobody, not even the king himself, could put off their turn indefinitely. Spiritual men sought to comfort those who were afraid of being eaten by the dragon (which included almost everyone, although many denied it in public) by promising another life after death, a life that would be free from the dragon-scourge. Other orators argued that the dragon has its place in the natural order and a moral right to be fed. They said that it was part of the very meaning of being human to end up in the dragons stomach. Others still maintained that the dragon was good for the human species because it kept the population size down.
Its red eyes glowed with hate, and from its terrible jaws flowed an incessant stream of evil-smelling yellowish-green slime. It demanded from humankind a blood-curdling tribute: to satisfy its enormous appetite, ten thousand men and women had to be delivered every evening at the essay onset of dark to the foot of the mountain where the dragon-tyrant lived. Sometimes the dragon would devour these unfortunate souls upon arrival; sometimes again it would lock them up in the mountain where they would wither away for months or years before eventually being consumed. The misery inflicted by the dragon-tyrant was incalculable. In addition to the ten thousand who were gruesomely slaughtered each day, there were the mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, children, and friends that were left behind to grieve the loss of their departed loved ones. Some people tried to fight the dragon, but whether they were brave or foolish was difficult to say. Priests and magicians called down curses, to no avail. Warriors, armed with roaring courage and the best weapons the smiths could produce, attacked it, but were incinerated by its fire before coming close enough to strike. Chemists concocted toxic brews and tricked the dragon into swallowing them, but the only apparent effect was to further stimulate its appetite.
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A client is scheduled for a partial bed bath. This means that the nurse aide must wash the client's. Face, neck, ears, arms, and mattress hands. Face, axillae, hands, and buttocks. Face, hands, axillae, and legs. Face, hands, axillae, genitals, and buttocks. O nce upon a time, the planet was tyrannized by a giant dragon. The dragon stood taller than the largest cathedral, and it was covered with thick black scales.