Carcharias is an Imperial Hive World, though this bleak planet's extreme cold temperatures, vast glacier fields and frozen wastelands make it closer in approximation to an Ice World. Carcharias was once the Chapter planet of the Crimson Consuls Space Marine Chapter, who were destroyed through a series of intrigues and deceptions arranged by the Alpha Legion to procure the Crimson Consul's gene-seed for Abaddon the Despoiler's Black Legion, in order for the Forces of Chaos to prosecute the 13th Black Crusade with reinforced numbers of heretic Astartes. Carcharias is orbited by three moons known as De Vere, Thusa Major and Thusa Minor.
The Crimson Consuls' fortress-monastery, known locally as the Slaughterhorn, formed the largest spirepeak of Hive Niveous, the Carcharian capital city. Beneath the Slaughterhorn lay a lightless labyrinth of tunnels, cave systems and caverns that threaded their way through the pulverised rock and rust of the original hive. Thousands of stories worth of spires and edifice had been erected on top of the ancient structures, crushing them into the bottomless network of grottoes from which the Crimson Consuls procured their most savage potential recruits.
Far below the indifference of the aristocratic class in the upper spires, below the habitat and industrial districts of the impoverished masses of the lower hive, lay the gang savagery of the underhive. Beneath even this level of outlaws and brutal hive-gangers lay a vast network of catacombs inhabited by primitive, barbaric tribes of pre-industrial savages. These young barbaric Carcharian brutes were ideal recruits for the Crimson Consuls Chapter.
Achaphrael Hive made up a triumvirate of hive cities called the "Pale Maidens" that stood like ancient monuments to the fickle nature of Carcharias' extreme weather and fierce polar cyclones. A thousand Terran years earlier the three cities had been devastated by a freak polar cyclone colloquially referred to by the hivers as "The Big One." The ghost hives later served as an impromptu training ground for the Crimson Consuls.
The region surrounding Archaphrael Hive was referred to as the "Dry-blind"; so named because of the ghostly vapour created from the rime of frozen carbon dioxide that bled into the atmosphere a white swirl of blinding mist in all directions. This vapour hid the true lethality of the surface, as a maze of bottomless crevasses, fissures and fractures riddled the ice beneath. The Dry-blind was extremely dangerous to travel over, as its crevasses were covered by a layer of soft snow that could disguise their existence. The danger of falling into the great cracks in the ice to a frigid and painful death was ever-present.
Packs of predatory animals called Fang-Face Shredders roamed the Dry-blind, making the environment an even more perilous prospect for travellers. The Shredders had flat, shovel-shaped maws spilling over with needle-like fangs. They carried their bodies close to the ground and were flat but for the razored dorsal fin protruding from their knobbly spines. They used their long tails for balance and changing direction on the ice.
Like their dorsals, their tails were razor-edged whiplashes that gave them their name. Their sharp bones were wrapped in an elastic skin-sheen that felt almost amphibious and gave the beasts the ability to slide downhill and toboggan right into their prey. Then they would turn their crystal-tipped talons on their unfortunate victims. These claws also served as shredding grapnels that the creatures used to climb up and along the labyrinthine crevasses that fractured the ice shelf of the Dry-blind.
- Hammer and Bolter 3, "The Long Games at Carcharias" by Rob Sanders