The Stonebreakers, or "Brotherhood of Stone" as they are formally known, are a combination of several Brotherhoods of Demiurg which occupy two Stronghold Class Vessels and several Bastion Class Vessels. The Brotherhoods which combine to make this alliance have become tightly linked through marriage and trade deals to ensure they remain a powerful stand-alone force. Although they trade with and work as mercenaries for the Tau, the Stonebreakers do not serve the Empire, however are still allowed access to the Tau territories. Despite being a passive race, this particular group of Demiurg have made advancements in not only mining but also in weaponry and exo-skeletal armour to make sure they can handle almost any threat that arises. Due to being a moderate sized force of Xenos the Brotherhood of Stone are viewed as a threat to the Imperium and come under attack on many occasions.
Way of Life
Economic stability is of key importance to all Demiurg Brotherhoods and it is no different within the Brotherhood of Stone. As such, the activities of the Stonebreakers revolve highly around ensuring they have open trade relationships with other races as well as ensuring their mining activities are not disrupted. Due to the nature of their race constantly living in space-bound vessels, if they were to run out of resources, suffer setbacks with mining activities or have their trade routes disrupted, their entire brotherhood would be forced to ration their supplies and live off minimals until they managed to resupply.
The Stonebreakers have a strong relationship with the Tau Empire and constantly have emmissaries stationed on T'au to oversee trade deals and ensure all orders of raw materials are shipped as required. Just as Emmissaries are stationed amongst the Tau, members of the Water Caste are stationed on the Stronghold Class Vessels in rooms specially designed to accomodate the much taller Xenos. These Tau are rotated in and out of the Vessels due to the discomfort they suffer from the cramped spaces, however their Demiurg counterparts stationed amongst the T'au are selected from the best diplomats amongst their Brotherhood and permanently placed in their positions.
Despite the general fear of Xenos amongst the people of the Imperium, there are several worlds close to Tau space within the Ultima Segmentum that do trade with the Stonebreakers. Although these relationships do exist, they are not openly known outside of the Brotherhood as any Governor caught interacting with a Xeno would be looked upon poorly by their Inquisition and subject to Imperial Law. These ventures can be dangerous for the Demiurg as Space Marine Chapters and Imperial Guard Regiments have been known to patrol certain routes, however with careful planning and sufficient monitoring of the surrounding Sectors these encounters can be avoided. These ventures are always worth the risk as the reward is generally substantial.
The Demiurg of the Brotherhood of Stone consisted of seven seperate Brotherhoods which have come together through links of marriage and various agreements. This alliance consists of the Garag, Ironfists, Bearess, Karakos, Rockcairn, Hilvarn and Stonebreakers. As the largest, most powerful and the instigators of the alliance coming together, the Demiurg of this group are generally just referred to as the Stonebreakers despite the fact they are not all of this particular Brotherhood. Regardless of the original problems and disagreements with them being referred to as such, over time the other Brotherhoods have been reduced to no more than a few intermingled traditions and otherwise small groups due to interbreeding and marriages that have elevated the Stonebreakers to control of all the vessels within the fleet, and so all problems with the name have faded.
Honour and respect are of great importance within the Stonebreakers just as it is throughout most of the race. It is common for two individuals who have had a disagreement, or if one has disrespected another, to meet at a duelling arena and settle their differences. These duels are not to the death and once resolved are left as they were with both parties agreeing to the winner's terms that were settled prior to the contest, followed by continuing their lives as if the disagreement never occured. If one party or both continue with the same problem and it is not resolved following the duel then they are subjected to the laws of the Brotherhood of Stone.
Marriages amongst the people of the Stonebreakers do not come down to love but rather are made as agreements and deals to further the seperate family houses within the brotherhood. Despite each house ensuring their own power, each family still works towards the collective goal of bringing power to their people as a whole. Although that is their purpose and goal, the way in which each house may make deals can occasionally be underhanded and deceitful. These marriages, once brokered and formed as a union, are permanent with each male and female only having a single partner in their lifetime. This steady resolve is mirrored by each house and has the benefit of ensuring the unions formed between families are long-standing.