[Reserved for New Model Pics, as and when I get more Stonebound painted]
"Let this vow be heard on Terra! We will retake our home from the Orks, or die in the attempt! Onward to War! Onward to Kharabor!" - Last transmission of Captain Narin Firedelve, Stonebound 1st Company, 801.M40
"Fortify every world in the Rifts if you have to, Captain. We shall be as a suit of armour enclosing the Subsector." - Chapter Master Datost Thundershield of the Stonebound, 994.M33
In the turbulent times of the late 34th Millennium, the Sixth Founding of Space Marines was ordained by the High Lords of Terra. Amongst the Chapters created in this monumental event, one was sent to the turbulent region of space known as the Glastheim Rifts, to retake worlds lost to xenos raiders and insidious cults of Chaos.
Scions of the great Primarch Rogal Dorn, the new Chapter took to their duty with the steadfast resolve typical of successors of the VII Legion, retaking a half-dozen worlds under sheer impetus of their crusade within years of arriving on the north-west edge of the Glastheim Rifts. The Chapter took the Hive World of Kharabor ('Keystone' in High Gothic) as a homeworld. Identifying an Orkoid empire as the largest threat to Imperial domination of the Rifts, the Chapter threw themselves into war with the greenskins with a ruthless fury, advancing inexorably through the territories held by the warlike xenos, taking back world after world in the name of humanity and The Emperor. Some amongst the local Imperial forces fighting besides the Chapter nicknamed them "Stonebound" for their unyielding resolve and rock-solid determination, and the Chapter eventually formally adopted the name.
As a counter-measure against future threats, the Stonebound built numerous outposts, watchtowers and keeps on these reclaimed worlds, replete with forges, training posts, and of course formidable defences. Most of these forts were manned by Chapter serfs, but a handful of key worlds were reinforced with a squad of Space Marines, to better stand vigil against potential threats.
The Stonebound were touted as a force of righteous retribution, even far beyond the Glastheim Rifts. It is said at one time their name was spoken in the same breath as many other Chapters of legend, but the golden age of the Stonebound would not last forever.
The first indication of the problems to come came when chaos cults started to emerge on some of the worlds the Stonebound had reclaimed. The Chapter scrambled to meet the threat these cults represented, wiping them out to the last man and hunting heretics wherever they sought to hide. In doing so, however, the Stonebound were forced to divert attention from the orks, to ensure all possible traces of corruption were eradicated.
This proved to lead to the Chapter's downfall when the Orks came in search of vengeance.
Riled up by the Stonebound's success, the numerous Ork tribes that lurked and fought on the worlds around the Chapter's domain gathered together for the sole purpose of crushing the Stonebound and taking back their old stomping grounds.
The Stonebound underestimated both the numbers and ferocity of their foe - whilst the Chapter was spread thinly across their worlds and hunting Chaos cultists, the Orks mustered and launched a surprise attack on Kharabor itself, fighting with even more reckless and wild aggression than even the previous greenskin hordes had mustered.
The fall of Kharabor was a blow like no other to the normally stoic Chapter; the Stonebound raced home with wild, primal fury, launching their own immediate counter-siege in an attempt to retake their home. The siege of Kharabor was thusly a short, brutal affair that saw over five hundred Space Marines killed in battle, and the remnants of the Chapter broken and scattered in the aftermath.
For two centuries, the Stonebound made repeated sorties against the Orks, attempting to leverage a path back to Kharabor, but without a homeworld to replenish their ranks from, the Chapter's strength continued to dwindle with each hard-fought engagement. The greenskins ran roughshod over the systems the Stonebound once protected, ransacking and demolishing the Chapter's outposts and minor fortresses.
With the Chapter diminished to just under three hundred marines, the Stonebound bitterly consigned themselves to finding a new recruitment world. After a long search, the remnants of the Stonebound gathered on the icy, mountainous death world of Kagara, though with precious little resources with which to rebuild.
Here the Chapter swore a sacred oath - this was either the world where the Stonebound would re-forge their legacy, or dig their everlasting graves. Incensed by the loss of their "true" homeworld, the death of over half their number and the innumerable other atrocities committed by the greenskins, the Stonebound marked the greatest of these offences onto formidable stone tablets, recording the wrongs that must be avenged in order to restore the Chapter's former glory. These Grudge-Stones serve as a permanent reminder of shames endured and losses taken, and only when the grudge engraved upon the stone is considered avenged is the stone ritually shattered.
For every slight against the Chapter and the Imperium, the orks would be paid back in full. This was the ultimate oath of the Stonebound - vengeance for all that was lost.
The Stonebound have been shaped by their history, and defined by their endless war to retake their lost realm. Every marine has a ferocious, burning hatred for the orks instilled within him, and are trained since initiation to fight and kill the greenskin without hesitation or mercy. A Stonebound marine is typically dour in temperament, intensely loyal to their Chapter and their brothers, stoic, somewhat insular and absolutely bound by honour to always uphold their word, no matter the cost to themselves.
The Stonebound as a Chapter never forget a debt, whether it is owed by the Chapter or to the Chapter. Those few amongst the Imperial forces around the Rift that can count the Stonebound amongst their friends, however, will never find themselves with a more stalwart or reliable ally, willing to face down even certain death in order to honour their friendships or repay their debts to others.
Of note is the Stonebound's comparative mastery of the forge, the Chapter being responsible for the creation of some truly magnificent weapons and armour over the centuries. In their early years, the Chapter would keep the best examples of their work in secret chambers buried in the depths of their various keeps, or in one of many specially designed chambers in the Fortress-Monastery at Kharabor. Since losing their first home and migrating to Kagara, the Stonebound's armoury is typically more centralised, and kept within the Chapter's reach at all times. Several examples of the Chapter's finest work, along with trophies, banners, or commemorative pieces of great value to the Chapter, were locked away in sealed vaults on worlds that have since been over-run by Orks. Whether those treasures of the Chapter remain secure, or have fallen into greenskin hands, none can say with certainty.
In spite of the Chapter's ambitions of glory, and stubborn refusal to die at the hands of the orks, taking back the Glastheim Rifts has proven to be a mighty challenge. The Orks and the Stonebound have been waging merciless war against each other for millennia, both sides fighting with a fierce, unyielding hatred of the other. Every victory is fleeting, as the defeated side eventually rallies again to avenge their defeat. Other Imperial factions dragged into the war are either ground down by repeated conflicts with the greenskin menace, or pulled away to deal with other threats in the Glastheim Rifts - heretics, cultists, pirates and other xeno invaders lurk in the darker corners, always waiting to strike.
It is, functionally, a stalemate, kept alive for over a thousand years by the fires of mutual hatred and the Stonebound's drive for absolute vengeance against the orks.
"There is no purer motive than hatred, and no greater purpose than revenge." - Sergeant Ral Stonespike, Stonebound 7th Company, 680.M35
Only three events in the Glastheim Rifts have served to effect any change the endless stalemate between the Orks and the Stonebound.
The first of these events was the formation of the Silver Circle, near the end of M37. Along with the Stonebound, four other Chapters of Space Marines were drafted into a formal alliance by a force of Inquisitors, and duly charged with finally taking back the Glastheim Rifts for the Imperium.
With the other Chapters occupying the focus of the heretic cults and traitors dwelling in the Rifts themselves, the Stonebound found themselves able to more readily commit their entire force to their unending war with the Orks. Over the centuries, the Stonebound have proved to be the most isolationist and obdurate of the Silver Circle, at first outright refusing any offer of help or kinship from the other Chapters. As more and more threats began to arise, both within and without the Rifts, the Stonebound eventually found themselves warming up to their Circle-Brothers, seeing in many of them some reflection of their own traits.
The second event was the awakening of An'Zagurd, the Steel Serpent, in late M41. Buried deep on the world of Kadrimor, a mighty Necron construct was awakened during a fierce underground battle between the Stonebound and a particularly cunning Ork warband. Ripping the very ground apart as the creature arose from its' aeons-long slumber, the Steel Serpent savagely attacked both sides, seemingly in a frenzy. It was later found to have left Kadrimor, and has been seen in the company of the [NAME] Dynasty of Necrons, who strike out at Orks and Imperials alike from their fortified tomb world of [PLANET NAME].
Since the awakening of An'Zagurd, the Necron have been a persistent threat, lurking in the dark and awaiting the time to strike at the Stonebound. Both An'Zagurd and the [NAME] Dynasty have their names engraved on many Grudge Stones, and the Stonebound look forward to taking their vengeance against both foes.
The final event to mark a significant change in the eternal war between the Stonebound and the Orks was the Indomitus Crusade, bringing with it a great change in the form of Primaris marines. The Stonebound were, at first, extremely sceptical of Primaris marines, and of the Chapters of the Silver Circle were easily the slowest to accept the addition to their Chapter.
However, with the endless war taking a heavy toll on the Chapter's numbers, coupled with the impressive tally of victories the Primaris marines of their Circle-Brothers had achieved, the Stonebound grudgingly accepted the use of their own Primaris kindred. In recent years, the campaign against the Orks has seen real progress for the Stonebound, taking and holding successfully a dozen worlds long thought lost to the greenskin menace.
Many within the Chapter are, in fact, talking about the reclaimation of Kharabor itself, not simply as a long-term goal, or a grudge to be settled, but as a real possibility for the near future. Such an endeavour will surely be fraught with peril and bloodshed, with the threats of Orks, Necron and Chaos rising on all sides to keep the Stonebound from rebuilding their lost glories.
But the Stonebound will never yield their ambitions, nor change their ways. War and death await all who dare oppose the Stonebound's return to prominence - it is inevitable.
"Kagara is either the cradle of our Chapter's future, or the mountains that will become our tomb." - Techmarine Zoren Silvercraft, Stonebound 2nd Company, 914.M34
The Stonebound would never call a world other than Kharabor their home, but for all intents and purposes Kagara ('Mountainhome' in High Gothic) is the primary world of the Stonebound. A world of bitter cold, ice and blizzards, the surface of Kagara is borderline inhospitable. However, a series of ancient undreground roads, caverns and cities weave under the world's surface, with much of the population subsisting in these subterraenean warrens. These cities, the life support machines within them, and much of the tunnel network linking them almost certainly predate the Horus Heresy, and may possibly even date back to before the Dark Age of Technology.
The people of Kagara are fairly primitive, worshipping the machines that make their sub-surface homes more habitable. Recruits are generated for the Chapter primarily amongst the culture's miner-castes, who often have to defend themselves against various underground creatures in their endless quest for fuels or rare metals. War between Kagara's Great Clans is also not unheard of, and these wars usually offer a surplus of recruits for the Stonebound, who pay close attention to the child soldiers often employed by the Clans in such times to bolster their warrior's numbers.
Kharabor, in the time the Stonebound held it, was a very different world from Kagara. Dominated by two sprawling hive cities, with a dozen other major population centres across the world, Kharabor was a crucible of industry and a local trade hub, dealing mostly in mechanical goods.
Recruits on Kharabor were taken in via an annual trial of strength and endurance held in the world's major population centres. Some of the more dour amongst the Chapter take the view that the relative lack of conflict on Kharabor made the Stonebound take its' security for granted - a mistake the Chapter will never repeat again.
"Axes high, brothers! Today is a day for Vengeance!" - Brother Urist Blackbanner, Stonebound 8th Company, at the battle of Ottankoth 012.M42
In their early years, the Stonebound's foremost guiding vision was that of a united humanity, under The Emperor's banner. Since the coming of the orks, the Chapter's focus has been increasingly consumed by an absolute need for vengeance. The pursuit of revenge is considered to be the purest act a Space Marine can undertake, for the extermination of the Stonebound's enemies brings the Imperium one step closer to The Emperor's great vision of a galaxy ruled by Humanity.
When the Chapter avenges a grudge, the Grudge-Stone upon which it is engraved is ritually shattered in a somewhat sombre ceremony, which in turn is followed by a great feast for those who accomplished the deed. On the rare occasions that outsiders have been permitted to attend these feasts, they say the Stonebound in attendance are almost completely different in personality - quick to jest, happy to sing songs and drink toasts to the dead and the brave whose deeds brought about the Chapter's victory.
Another quirk of the Stonebound is their view of The Emperor. Indeed, being able to trace their lineage back to Rogal Dorn, most stalwart Son of the Ultimate Ancestor, is a huge point of pride for the Chapter. They always strive to live up to their gene-sire's indefatigable and unflinching resolve in the face of the alien menace. Most Stonebound are able to fully recite the lineage of their own geneseed, tracing back through dozens of generations of Space Marines until the foundation of the Chapter.
"A vile force of Greenskins approaches! Come, brothers - let us show them some Stonebound hospitality!" - Sergeant Astur Anvilborn, Stonebound 9th Company, 388.M40
When the Stonebound march to war, they do not do so in haste. Mass deployments of armour, accompanied by the methodical march of infantry is the staple approach of the Stonebound. Heavy tanks such as Land Raiders, Predators or Vindicators, supported by well-placed Devastator Squads typically form the strongest point of the advance, grinding through enemy assailants without remorse. Supported by massed bolter fire and bombardments from Whirlwinds or Thunderfire Cannons, the Stonebound can effortlessly adapt between steadfastly holding ground and pressing the attack. Fast attack elements of a Company, such as bikes or land speeders, are employed as support for the main line's flanks, or kept behind the bulk of the advancing Stonebound, only racing forward in the event an enemy force routs completely in the face of the Chapter's inexorable advance.
The Stonebound favour sheer firepower in battle over the cut-and-thrust of melee, but this is not to say the Chapter eschew melee combat entirely - Assault units tend to be used for counter-attacks, intercepting enemy charges or engaging stubborn enemy defences as the Stonebound's advancing line reaches them. Axes are a favoured weapon amongst the Chapter, derived from the Battle-Picks of the Kagaran mining-castes, which feature a pick on one side and a more traditional axe-blade on the other.
In the case of siege warfare, the Stonebound perform as capably as one would expect of an Imperial Fists successor; artillery, heavy armour and crushing assault forces employed as required to breach whatever defences a luckless enemy may choose to cower behind. Centurion war-suits equipped with formidable Siege Hammers are a favoured spearhead unit for siege assaults, breaking apart fortifications as easily as they break apart the enemies within. The Stonebound are known to excavate and fortify entry tunnels into particularly resilient hideaways, with squads of excavators and crews of siege-servitors tunnelling away to the exacting specifications of their Astartes overlords.
The gradual addition of Primaris forces has seen many Stonebound Battle Companies frequently employing Heavy Intercessor squads and battle tanks such as the Repulsor alongside their more traditionally favoured units. In large-scale offensives, the sight of Hammerfall Bunkers or Firestrike turrets being deployed from orbit to create or reinforce killing zones is not uncommon, establishing rock-solid defences even as the Stonebound continue their relentless attack.
"If Dorn sees wisdom in the words of his Brother, who are we to question them?" - Chaplain Fikod Ironpath, Stonebound 10th Company, 629.M34
The Stonebound are almost entirely Codex-adherent, although with some minor deviations. The Chapter's First Company bear different heraldry, their shoulders coloured red with bone trim. They have the nickname of "The Redshields", derived from the practice of the First Company's marines crafting and using crimson shields engraved with that marine's notable deeds, battle honours, grudges avenged and personal heraldry. The Stonebound's current Fortress Monastery, under the great mountains of Kagara, is lined with the shields of dead battle-brothers, giving the already imposing bastion the fearsome appearance of a blood-red citadel.
The Librarians of the Stonebound are more often referred to as 'Sages' amongst the brothers of the Chapter, and amongst their duties is the care and maintenance of the Chapter's Grudge-Stones. It is the Sages who engrave the Grudges, and the Sages who ritually shatter the stones when the Grudges are avenged. Weapons used to slay notable enemies or settle one of the Chapter's Grudges are repaired, embellished, given a unique name by the Sages, and added to the Stonebound's listed Reliquary, to be considered a rightful treasure of the Chapter for evermore.
The Chapter's Dreadnoughts are known as the Ironbound, and are treated with the significant respect and reverance a mighty, venerable warrior and a formidable living weapon of vengeance deserves. Only the most talented and skillful of the Chapter's maintenance serfs are even permitted to look upon the chassis of the Ironbound at rest, and even then only under the strict guidance of Sages, Chaplains or Techmarines.
The Stonebound have continued the practice of building additional defensive keeps on key worlds or moons in the systems surrounding Kagara. Largely crewed by families of serfs, with abundant automated defences, these worlds are equipped with complex sensor arrays meticulously constructed according to strict Mechanicus guidelines by the Chapter's Techmarines, and act as a limited early-warning system in the event of greenskin incursion.
"The blood of Dorn runs in your veins. To admit defeat is to betray it, and shame your Chapter. Fight on, and fight well." - Last transmission of Sergeant Anabur Stoutshield, Stonebound 1st Company, 511.M39
The Stonebound are proud and honourable scions of Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists. Their geneseed exhibits no notable deviation from that of their progenitors, lacking the Sus-an Membrane and the Betcher's Gland. Aside from the feasts that accompany the breaking of Grudge Stones, the Stonebound hold a celebration once every century to show glory and honour their Primarch and The Emperor.
"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken!" - recited as a litany as the line advances
Another day, another update!
Now with 100% additional Primaris in the combat doctrine, and a couple of centuries where the Stonebound stubbornly refused to settle on another world and got roughed up for their trouble, harkening back to the exiles of the lonely mountain and other such dwarfly occasions.
As always, all thoughts, opinions, C&C and musings are welcome. Feel free to pick up an ale, rest your axe and let me know if I've struck gold or if I'm just mired in mud up to my neck!
Edited by Ace Debonair, 08 November 2020 - 10:09 PM.