Battle-brothers of the Stonebound chapter. Company is denoted by the number on the knee, and the chapter's insignia is two grey axes in the form of a diagonal cross, blades facing outwards. The marine on the right is a member of the chapter's First Company, the Redshields.
They called us Stone Warriors,for no weapon in their hands could harm us. Had we come to wage war, I would have thought nothing of it and slain them outright. The name, though, had appeal. We Astartes, bound in armor as enduring as the stones upon which we stood..." Extract from the saga of Alar Baines, Grand Captain of the Stonebound.
Created in the Sixth Founding from the gene-seed of Jaghatai Khan, the Chapter that would come to be known as the Stonebound was assigned to the Segmentum Pacificus to combat the threat of increasingly numerous Ork incursions. A cadre of veterans from their parent chapter, the Red Sabres, would train them for a time, overseeing the maturation of their first five generations of recruits. Alar Baines was the leader of this cadre, but would not claim the position of Chapter Master, insisting that his role was only to mentor the Chapter for a short time. He instead took up the title of Grand Captain and created a temporary council of Captains. Baines taught these warriors of the many responsibilities and burdens of command, and began to search for a leader who might replace him when the time came.
Baines’ next task as leader of the fledgling Chapter was to find a world that they could call their home. This search lasted for several decades, as the Chapter moved from system to system, engaging in battle with the myriad enemies of mankind. World after world proved unworthy to call home, but soon after his Marines made planetfall on the world known to the Imperium as Kagara, Baines knew that his quest had finally ended.
"In the Kagaran caves at winter, the only light is faith in Him. Darkness surrounds, and we endure."
Oruc Stonebreaker of the Redshields Company speaking to an officer of the Imperial Navy two years after the battle at Kagara.
Kagara is a world within the Segmentum Pacificus, close to the borders with the Segmenta Tempestus and Solar. A planet of extremely volatile winters, the people of Kagara survive the merciless blizzards and destructive gales of the season by taking to the underground. Under the surface, Kagara is home to vast, underground seas, heated by geothermal vents. The world has multiple, large moons that cause tidal stresses only during the already merciless winters, causing the raging, roiling waters of the underground to surge along ancient, worn paths in the forms of rivers and geysers. In heading to the underground, the people of Kagara do not escape danger - rather they trade one set of difficulties for another. However, the people have adapted well to the depths. Much of the interaction between clans, such as trade or warfare, continues in the dark, dangerous caverns. An additional threat is the Gor'da, or 'Dark lizards', large, dangerous crested lizards that are easily capable of attacking and killing entire human convoys. During the winter, the Gor'da become more active, scenting both humans and their livestock as potential food sources.
In response to the threat of the Gor'da, the Kagarans built hardy stone fortifications, sturdy enough to withstand attacks from the dark lizards. Although the Kagarans have not discovered gunpowder, in recent years the clans have begun to make use of watermills and steam technology, most notably to quickly open and close the sturdy stone doors of their fortifications, and to power their forges. The tidal fluxes that causes the raging waters in the winter are what power these watermills, and during the rest of the year they lay dormant. The watermills are in fact a relic from previous Imperial occupation of the planet, and are held in a reverance bordering on religious fervour. To damage a watermill or forge, even one of a rival tribe, is seen as the greatest of crimes, and is invariably punished with death. Forges are used almost constantly throughout the winter, creating weaponry, armour, and construction tools in preperation of the return to the surface.
During the early days of spring, when the food supplies begin to run low, the clans ready themselves to return to the surface. The Gor'da become most active at this point, laying in wait and bearing the chill of being near the surface for the chance of feasting on an unprotected band of Kagarans. Conflict with the dark lizards is almost inevitable, and only the hardiest of warriors survive such encounters - keeping the lizards at bay while their clan make for the surface. There are many tales of legendary heroes amongst the clans, warriors who slew several Gor'da in one battle, armed only with axe and mail.
When the Chapter first arrived on Kagara they saw that, for the people of a feudal world, the populace showed great innovation in their lifestyles. Many of the underground tunnels were linked, mostly by natural occurrences, but sometimes by the industrious toil of the Kagaran people. With the arrival of the Astartes, many Kagaran clans tried to fight them off. But after facing the fearsome 'stone warriors' with their unbreakable armour and terrifying weaponry, each clan quickly agreed to meet with Grand Captain Baines, who gave them the honour of providing recruits for the Chapter.
Within two decades, the Chapter had built what would become the core of their fortress monastery, deep under the surface of the world, and Baines had settled on a name for the Chapter - they would now be known as the Stonebound. By the end of their twentieth year on Kagara, the Stonebound had adapted to the world marvellously, taking in their first generation of new recruits with acceptable levels of losses.
It was half a year later that the Orks came, attacking Kagara and the Stonebound in their thousands. The Stonebound's response was as swift as it was brutal - launching a series of lightning raids on the greenskins, whilst chapter serfs urged the tribes of Kagara to make for the underground. The Stonebound's raids, while effective, were not enough to halt the Ork advance, and soon the numbers of the advancing xenos began to tell, inflicting much damage to the Chapter's bikes and land speeders. The Stonebound were forced back to their half-completed fortress monastery. Grand Captain Baines grew frustrated with the situation - with every attack launched against the Orks, more losses were taken by the marines. It was one of the Captains Baines was training, Jorn Rockhammer, who devised the solution. By creating new tunnels and linking the already vast network of tunnels under the surface, the Stonebound were able to attack from unexpected quarters, allowing them to strike any exposed weakness in the Ork advance. The chapter would set up a series of strong points within the tunnels, allowing infantry-based raids from multiple directions whilst maintaining solid defences that could ward off counter-attacks. Rockhammer's strategy drove the Orks from the tunnels, and mere weeks later, winter came to Kagara, killing as many of the greenskins as the brutal, co-ordinated attacks of the astartes. On the first day of spring, the entire Chapter surged forth, bursting from the caves of Kagara and driving the Orks on the planet to extinction. The people of Kagara were jubilant, and to the surprise of the Astartes, the clans united for a day, holding a great feast 'to remember and honour the dead and the brave'. The clans begged the Stonebound to attend, and Baines reluctantly accepted the honour.
When Grand Captain Baines left Kagara to return to the Red Sabres, he made Jorn Rockhammer, then Captain of the First Company, the first true Stonebound Chapter Master. Under his leadership, and those who came after him, the Stonebound have waged war against the foul Orks ever since. The Chapter has developed a fierce love of close combat tactics, and in a salute to an ancient Kagaran warrior tradition, each marine carries an axe with him into battle. The axe, to the Stonebound, symbolises the role of a space marine - to brutally and irrevocably destroy the enemies of makind.
The Chapter recruits from the clans during every season other than the winter, challenging aspiring warrior youths by flying them to the top of Kagara's highest mountain ranges and forcing them to survive the month-long climb down with no equipment or help. The difficulty of this task is magnified greatly by the bitter cold, as well as lack of shelter, and made even worse by attacks by the ferociously territorial V'or, a species of flying, carnivorous lizard distantly related to the Gor’da and only slightly smaller than a grown man.
"Look after your armour, brother. You will find little else that so effectively keeps the Ork's fangs from your throat."
Attributed to Techmarine Rha’kol.
Stonebound marines are often easily identifiable even amongst their fellow Astartes, thanks largely to the practice of adorning their ceramite armour with decorative mail links. Marines of higher rank or veterancy are generally more decorated, sometimes with entire hauberks, shoulder coverings or even mail hoods. The practice clearly originates from Kagaran culture, but the Stonebound also say to not show the proper respect to the holy armour of The Emperor's Space Marines would be to invite misfortune and failure in battle. Part of the spiritual practice of the Chapter revolves around the creation of arms and armour, reflecting in miniature the Emperor's creation of His holy weapons, the Space Marines. Techmarines chant praises to the Emperor, Khan, and the heroes of the Stonebound, punctuated by the simultaneous crashing of hammer on anvil. Given that the Stonebound have an almost spiritual relationship with their arms and armour it is unsurprising that Techmarines are figures of some stature within the Chapter. Not only do they take care of more complex repairs, oversee the rituals of forging, and maintain the well-being of the Chapter’s machine spirits, but often Battle Brothers approach them when they have a need for spiritual guidance - linking flaws in the art of forging to a troubled and ill-balanced soul. Techmarines often set penances for those who feel their skills are lacking, and offer the forgiveness of the Emperor and the machine spirits to those who complete said penance. For this reason, the functionality of the Chapter Reclusiam is somewhat altered as well; their roles outside of battle almost solely consisting of the duties usually associated with a Master of the Recruits. However, the zeal and fervour of the Chaplains remains undiminished, and in battle they perform as they would in any other chapter.
Kagarans have little use for the written word. Paper is dismissed as too flimsy to survive in the harsh winters, and carved stones are seldom used. As a result, each Kagaran clan has a small council of learned scholars, known collectively as sages. It is their duty to memorize the details of contracts, lineages, and other important knowledge. The only words written by the sages are the details of an enemy or a dishonour that must be avenged by the clan, and these are carved into grudge-stones. These stones are carved during the dark months, detailing the vengeance that must be extracted upon the target of the grudge-stone. The breaking of a grudge-stone is a cause for celebration for the Kagaran clans, and is often done with considerable ceremony. Much of this carries over to the Stonebound astartes, their Librarians taking on the iconic name of the Sages. Grudge-stones are still used to record the details of losses or dishonours, and the chapter will fight with unmatched ferocity to avenge a loss recorded on a grudge-stone. In an act echoing the great feast after the siege of Kagara, the breaking of a grudge-stone is a cause for company-wide celebration, and a feast to honour the memories of the dead and the brave.
Kagaran tribes are also superstitious about their names, using aliases and codewords when dealing with members of other clans. Kagarans follow the belief that the use of someone's true name by an enemy will rob them of their power, and this belief has also, over time, infiltrated the ranks of the Stonebound. Thus, to outsiders, the Stonebound appear more insular and solemn than many other chapters, seldom engaging in conversation outside of discussing tactics or making reports. They also never give their Kagaran names to outsiders, instead using approximate High Gothic translations of their surnames, and sometimes also replacing their first names with their rank or simply the word 'Stonebound'.
The Stonebound, for all their introversion, are fiercely loyal to each other, and to any others whom they feel have earned their respect. These include Marines of other Chapters who have performed feats of daring or courage whilst fighting alongside the Stonebound, and occasionally a courageous Imperial Guard regiment has been able to count the Chapter amongst their most trustworthy allies.
One unusual detail of the Stonebound's Chapter Cult is the way in which the Chapter reveres The Emperor, which appears to vary slightly within some of their rituals. Some portray The Emperor as the true first Space Marine, a guiding hero and king whose goal was to reshape the galaxy to his vision. Others place him closer to a true creator – a being of awesome power and wisdom who literally shaped worlds with his Godlike power. Whether or not they truly deify Him is something the Chapter will not be drawn on (unsurprising, given their reputation for introversion), and the few who have spoken to others about their personal beliefs over the centuries have each painted wildly different pictures of The Emperor.
"Let the enemy charge like a fool, recklessly taunting fate. In battle, we are as the mountains of Kagara - patient and unbreakable!"
Sergeant K'ahl Oakenshield of the Stonebound tenth company instructing recruits.
- Under revision.
"The Great Khan saw in the tome written by his brother Primarch words of true wisdom. Who are we, then, to doubt those words?"
Chapter Master Jorn Rockhammer of the Stonebound.
For the most part, the Stonebound follow the pattern of Chapter organization laid out in the Codex Astartes, fielding ten Companies of around one hundred Space Marines. These Companies are structured into Veteran, Battle, Reserve and Scout formations respectively. Although the Stonebound follow the Codex Astartes, there are still many similarities in their structure with their primogenitor Legion, the White Scars.
For example, much like the sons of the Khan from which they descend, the Stonebound always break up recruits taken from the same clan and induct them into different Companies, thereby promoting a strong sense of unity throughout the Chapter - irrespective of which Kagaran clan a Marine comes from, he is now Stonebound, evermore. Also, the White Scars' attitude regarding internment within a Dreadnought continues to hold much weight among the Stonebound, and many Chapter brethren see the hulking machines as nothing more than walking tombs. However, this is not to say that the Stonebound have no Dreadnoughts. Over the course of many centuries, a not inconsiderable number within the Chapter have become more comfortable with the ancient weapons, and see the opportunity to continue to serve the Emperor as one of ‘the Ironbound’ as a great honour.
In homage to their parent chapter, the Stonebound named their First Company the Redshields. Members of the Redshields are usually ancient marines; long-bearded, grizzled warriors who combine the wisdom of countless battles with ferocious skill-at-arms. Marines in the First Company paint their pauldrons a deep, rich red and each Veteran is gifted a finely crafted red shield. These shields are commonly decorated with personal heraldry, as well as badges and honours recognizing a Marine’s individual achievements. When a member of the Redshields dies his shield is hung on the outer walls of the Fortress-Monastery; from a distance it appears that the Ka’hagul is anointed in the blood of these heroes.
Entry into the 1st Company is marked by a test of skill - a Marine wishing to enter the Redshields must walk alone under the earth until he can claim a tooth from the mouth of a Gor'da. Hunting and stalking the beast in the pitch-dark caverns is difficult enough; and fighting a Gor'da alone is a true test even for the highly skilled Astartes. The badge of the Redshields is therefore a stylized red fang that is carved onto their armour, as well as onto any vehicles assigned to the 1st Company. Each Company Captain in the Stonebound is always promoted from the ranks of the Redshields.
Any campaigns outside of the Sector in which the Stonebound are based receive the attention of one of the Chapter's two Battle Barges, the Ni'halm (Black Shield) and the Arn (Axeblade). When on campaign in a Battle Barge, the Stonebound seldom deploy less than two Companies to any engagement, reckoning that overwhelming an enemy with as much force as possible is always the best way to proceed.
"You leave your humanity and your family in the past - they no longer matter. You are The Emperor's now, and you are our brother."
Apothecary H'rad Thunderskull.
The Chapter descends from the line of the Great Khan, through his sons, the Red Sabres. Like their predecessors, the Stonebound show no signs of gene-seed degradation or mutation, although the aggression and ferocity commonly associated with the sons of Jaghatai Khan are present. However, when not fighting or feasting the Chapter’s Marines have a reputation among Imperial sources for being somewhat introverted, some even claiming that they are stubbornly and intractably ill-tempered. Certainly, it has been noted that the Stonebound are generally quiet around others, preferring to hold muted, short conversations amongst themselves in the Kagaran tongue. Communication between the Stonebound and other Imperial forces typically happens at command levels only, and informal exchanges are extremely rare.
Whether these traits are due to mutations in their gene-seed or simply to the influence of Kagaran culture has been widely debated, but the Chapter view such questionings as futile and unworthy of a warrior’s time.
"Your enemies are about to embark upon the road to the afterlife. It is only common courtesy to inform them beforehand."
Sergeant Garant Stonehearth of the Tenth Company.
The Stonebound do not have a formal chapter-wide battlecry, instead simply roaring wordless defiance in the face of whichever enemy dares to confront them. When engaging an enemy force, Captains are allowed the honour of sounding their chosen battle cry first, followed by a crescendo of answering roars and battle calls from his brother marines.
OK! Another step closer to world domi- I mean, a chapter of Librarium worth.
Of course, comments on any part of the article in any way, shape or form will be much welcomed.
Edited by Ace Debonair, 13 January 2011 - 10:46 AM.