The Stoneburners are completely fleet-based, centered on three Battle Barges, Monolith, Seraph's Blade, and the Relentless Sun. The first was new, granted to the Chapter when it was formed, and the third was more recently built, completed after the 9th Crusade, but neither of these hold prominence within the fleet. That honor goes to the Seraph's Blade, gifted to the Stoneburners by the Dark Angels, and its history is a long and storied one. It was presented after their formation to expand the patrol and hunting capability the fledgling Stoneburners had available to them. It serves as the flagship of the Chapter's fleet and is a star-faring relic, doubling as a holy city devoted to the greatness of the sons of the First Legion as well as the home to all First and Second Company units while they are not deployed. Unless they are specifically pursuing a Fallen, the Stoneburners follow their mandate to patrol and combat the forces of Chaos in the Segmentum Obscurus with a religious zeal. They range wide within the galaxy arm from the Eye of Terror out to the Ghoul Stars, watching and hunting down those they determine a tainted by the touch of Chaos.
The planet Akhundras does hold primacy within the history and current traditions of the Stoneburners. The clans of the ergs and stone deserts gave birth to both Aetrion and many of the original as well as current Marines of the Chapter. The sandy colored tabards, surplices, and robes are worn in remembrance of the life that transitioned them into the company of the Emperor's Finest and in memory of Aetrion himself.
The planet has a broad band of harsh deserts around approximately half the northern and southern hemispheres, filled with salt plains, stony desert flat-lands, and the sandy wastes of the deep ergs. These areas often feel the wrath of massive sand storms and are generally inhospitable, though there are places where this harsh clime is broken and life finds a way. Succulent plants thrive low to the ground and are covered and filled with self-protection mechanisms, but animals have adapted, learning to live on this rough vegetation. Much of that life is reptilian in origin and bears its own protection, but there are some avian and mammalian derived species that live in the deep desert, and some that even appear to be a successful blending of these different gene lines. The largest of these is a creature that bears the hallmarks of many different species, much feared due to its quick acting paralytic venom, heavy scaled and armored hide, and voracious appetite. It bears the name Achreshek among the clans of the pan and erg, or "king sand lion" translated in Low Gothic.
Outside this band, the world is houses semi-arid steppes ringing the northern upper latitudes, and above these, mountain ranges periodically broken with rolling hills. These low points allow the movement of what little storm activity does come out of the semi-tropical forests of the northern pole down into the steppes. The southern pole of the planet is a harsher climate of rough mountainous terrain and plateaus that are periodically mined by transient Imperial ore and minerals collectors.
With little of value to the rest of the Imperium, the desert people of Akhundras live in much the same way as they did in the Age of Strife, dwelling in clan communities in deep cavern holds, with their lowest reaches devoted to storing water where the parched desert air has less chance to drink it before they do. Much of community life on Akhundras is guided by a belief that originated long before the arrival of the Imperium to their world, that a mighty savior would descend from the heavens and lead them in a final world-ending battle against the "Sightbreaker" who the clans believe was a primordial well-spring of all evil. Whether this belief originated on the planet itself though long years of alteration of earlier traditions or was planted to assist in recruitment of suitable Marine candidates is unknown and would likely be a point of scholarly debate if anyone truly cared to investigate. The clans continue to dwell with a slightly modified version of this, believing that the savior came in the form of the Lion, and their sons now compete to be a warrior in the retinue of eternal angels combating the Sightbreaker. Each clan jockeys for position as part of shifting alliances, each believing that they will have the most sons picked for the battle on the Last Day.
While there is almost constant raiding and low-level fighting amongst the clans, there is less outright killing done than one would expect given this frequency. All members of a clan are trained and expected to fight, except for those trained as technists, who maintain the water reclamation skin-suits, worn while outside the clan hold, and the limited and primitive machinery used by the clan. Throughout the clans, there are brotherhoods (sometimes more than one) binding each of the trades together beyond clan lines, and it is these brotherhoods holding back much of the outright warfare amongst the clans by providing binding ties and communication lines among even members of clans that are engaged in open hostilities with one another. Even during open war between clans, the technists are considered sacrosanct during all fighting, for without them the machinery of life in the clans and the holds themselves would quickly fail.
Of more concern among the clans than warfare is the simple fight for survival in the brutal environment, but the people of the clans know no other life and hold too much insular pride to regularly mix with Imperial visitors. These beliefs have colored the Marines of the Stoneburners directly, such that they will often espouse comments about the softness of most Imperial citizens and are critical and dismissive of those not from worlds classified as "feudal" or "death-worlds" in Imperial records. They see this softness as the reason Chaos is able to gain strongholds on the worlds of the Imperium.
Edited by Bryan Blaire, 20 December 2012 - 02:10 PM.