The Dragon Star
Anatomy of the Scar
The Scar is the swath of extreme destruction that occurred when the Dragon Star passed through the Earth’s atmosphere. Entering the upper levels of the atmosphere somewhere over the Russian Duchies, the comet screamed along at an effective speed approaching 50 miles per second. The comet’s glow intensified as it approached, turning into an oddly-colored fireball, and was accompanied by a rising, screeching roar. Tracking west-by-southwest, it left a wide, discolored plume behind it, a solid bank of smoke and airborne dust that hung in midair to mark its path.
Shedding debris and obliterating clouds, it crossed over central Europe, large chunks breaking off and exploding in mid-air. Shockwaves from the comet’s passage, and from these secondary airbursts, shattered stained-glass windows, knocked over houses, and flattened trees.
As it got lower, the airbursts became more often, and the devastation increased. What had started with some minor damage in the area east of Krakow became an increasingly wide path of burned destruction as it skimmed closer to the Alps, reducing the entire city of Graz to slag. Its passage rocked the alpine peaks, kicking off avalanches of whatever snow wasn’t vaporized.
The comet made it just past Morocco before its final explosion, air-bursting about a hundred feet above the Canary Islands and scattering its last chunks into the Atlantic. Almost immediately, a tsunami drowned Morocco and the coastal areas in Africa; Spain and Portugal was faced with a similar deluge a few minutes later. Even Ireland was not spared, as the wall of water smashed its southern counties while Portugal was still draining.
Roughly two minutes after the Dragon Star had roared to life, it lay dead, shattered by the Earth’s atmosphere, pieces of its husk scattered across Europe or sinking in the Atlantic. The dust trail it left mixed with the smoke from the fires it started, and hot, rain-heavy winds lashed the continent, with wild thunderstorms darkening the skies for nearly a week.
When the storms finally died off in late August, there was no doubt that the world was indelibly changed. Flood damage in Africa and the Atlantic coast. A cone of flattened, scorched earth that ran from Krakow to Pisa. Smaller craters that pock countryside. Secondary fires, caused by pieces of the comet, by the subsequent lightning storms, or even by human hand. Waters that smell and taste foul, crops damaged by the weather, people and animals sickened by the dust in the air.
The “true” scar starts just southeast of what’s left of Krakow, a burned course that cuts a path of devastation between Vienna and Bratislava, across Venice, Bologna and Pisa. Corsica and Palma were damaged by both flame and wave, and a second scar picks up in northwest Africa, as wide as it was near Graz, with a charred, sodden mess where Casablanca once stood.