Several hundred years ago, Granok civilization on planet Gnox was fairly primitive. With only the most rudimentary levels of technology, the Granok lived in small, isolated tribes scattered across the surface of their homeworld, following a simple, stoic philosophy known as the Way of Stone. The tenets of this philosophy were simple - the world might shift around them, but the Granok were as immutable and unchanging as the living stone from which their bodies were hewn. So it had been for tens of thousands of years, and so it would ever be.
Their lives were relatively simple and uncomplicated. They grew crops, crafted armor and weapons, and heartily enjoyed the brewing and drinking of beer. They were skilled warriors, but not warmongers. If they fought each other, it was more than likely in a good-natured tavern brawl where both combatants laughed if off with a hand shake and a peace offering of a newly filled tankard. They had what they needed on Gnox, and it was on Gnox they were going to stay.
Until the Dominion arrived.
A Strong Refusal
Seeing great potential in the Granok’s size and strength, the Dominion sent mechanical ambassadors to Gnox to facilitate their assimilation into the empire. They offered the Granok tribal chieftains gifts of knowledge and technology, asking only that they kneel and swear eternal loyalty to the reigning Dominion emperor in return.
Enraged by the insolence of these mechanical beings, the chieftains and their warlords immediately refused, making it abundantly clear that the ambassadors should leave their planet and never return. When the ambassadors suggested it would be in their best interests to reconsider, the Granok answered by smashing them into smoking piles of scrap.
Within a few hours, the emperor received news of his ambassadors' demise. Infuriated, he decreed the Granok were a dangerous, uncontrollable race that should be eliminated for the good of the empire. War was declared on planet Gnox, and the mighty Dominion Legions were deployed from planet Cassus.
War of Gnox
The Dominion arrived on Gnox in overwhelming force, assuming they would quickly eradicate the Granok tribes. But the empire severely underestimated the resiliency of the Granok warriors. Although their weapons were primitive, they were fearless and unrelenting on the field of battle - and their war machines were sturdily built and surprisingly destructive.
The war dragged on for months, with both sides taking heavy casualties - but soon the superior technology and weaponry of the Dominion began to win out over the powerful, yet primitive armaments of the Granok warriors. Unfazed, the tribal chiefs stoically accepted their imminent death, proud that they had walked the Way of Stone until the bitter end.
The Tide Turns
However, there were some amongst the Granok who disagreed with the chieftains. A young warlord named Durek refused to accept death and defeat, believing that the Granok were capable of defeating these alien invaders. In a series of daring raids, Durek led war parties into Dominion camps, stealing weapons, armor, and other powerful military technology. Within a few weeks, the growing ranks of Granok insurgents began to turn the tide, using the confiscated Dominion weaponry to win a number of key battles. Without the advantage of superior technology, the Dominion soon found themselves on the losing side of the war. Battered and bloody, the Legions were eventually driven off Gnox and back to planet Cassus.
After the war ended, Durek and his followers returned victorious to their tribes, armed to the teeth with Dominion weaponry. But instead of being greeted as heroes, they were met with coldness and hostility by the Granok chieftains, who regarded their use of Dominion technology as a betrayal of the Way of Stone. Durek was branded as the Stonebreaker, and his host of brave, battle-hardened warriors were exiled forever from planet Gnox.
Soldiers of Fortune
Using the Dominion spacecraft they had captured, Durek Stonebreaker and his followers took to the stars. Forming into loosely structured Free Companies, they began to ply their trade as off-world mercenaries, making a name for themselves as tough, relentless fighters who could be counted on as long as the price was right. As they traveled the galaxy as soldiers of fortune, the Free Companies retained a deep-seated hatred for the Dominion and looked forward to the day when they could settle the score in blood.