As mentioned in the treatise on the history of Mars, the Sky Martians parted from their trading cousins and formed a warriors clan culture, each clan comprising of several families. From an early age the Sky Martians teach their offspring in the ways of combat; pitting them against each other and opposing clans in ferocious competitions that often lead to death. For the young that survive they are inducted into the warrior elite and develop their skills, honing and perfecting the art of war.
Invariably with such a fierce culture there will be conflict between the clans and this happens on a regular basis but not to the extent that there is total civil war. Some of the reasons for inter-clan warfare are usually small and petty, seemingly created as an excuse rather an an actual reason but other times it can develop into a blood feud that can last for several generations.
There are several levels of warrior status within the clan structure. The top level is reserved for the warrior elite; warriors who have served the clan the longest and have the most experience. These warriors form the backbone of the clan's structure and are at the forefront of any engagement. These warriors get the best armour and weapons and are versed in several different ways of combat. The bulk of the clan is made up of the more adolescent members of the warrior caste those that have passed the induction but do not yet have the experience to qualify for the warrior elite: some of these can be armed with bolas but not many. The armour and weapons supplied to these troops is of a slightly lower quality and is quite often passed down through the clan from elder to younger. The bottom rung is made from the levies of the clan, the wastrels and criminals. These tend to be the missile troops; armed with a spiked bolas and not dreamed worthy enough to carry a short polearm (the Sky Martians weapon of choice). Limited leather armour is supplied and not maintained and therefore the levie units can have a haphazard appearance.
The Sky Martians transport of choice is a fast flying skiff and they utilise the winds, expertly trimming the sails, to get the maximum manoeuvrability and positioning for attack. Their main tactic is to swoop in to above the target; either with the sun behind them or in the dawn or dusk, harpoon the target to attach themselves and then traverse down fine rope to the deck of the opposing flyer. Causing as much damage and death as possible in as quick as time as possible they are not interested in capturing or even looting unless they are attacking the City Martians, just leaving destructn in their wake.
When attacking the City Martians, similar tactics are used but with larger vessels in support to enable supplies to be carried away to the clan holds in the mountains. The fighting can be quite desperate between the two factions with the City Martians sometimes even taking the offensive.
There are generally no female warriors but occasionally small groups in the clan will band together and form a warband. They are treated with a wary respect and allowed to go with the male warbands on raids and such but never to lead the clan in battle. What they lack in physical strength they make up for in viciousness and one or two female warbands have a terrible reputation throughout the Sky Martian community.
Clan hierarchy is important to the running of the clan with the eldest members having overall say over clan policy. Each clan has a council which is made from three representatives from each family contained within the clan and these elders have the last say, although some of the younger warband leaders are starting to question their reasoning.The general day to day running of the clan is in the hands of the elders with the females taking most of the physical roles and the males being primeraly attached to the warbands. Trade between the clans is common but as stated before, this can lead to open conflict.There is a subspecies of Sky Martian, small in number, that are used for general labour, the limited amount of farming that happens and occasionally pressed into warband service if the need is dire. Every second Martian cycle a clan gathering is called and as many clan councils attend as is possible. The gathering is used to discuss any important issues that effect the clans as a whole and can also be used to resolve feuds and conflicts that are having a more than normal detrimental effect on the Sky Martian culture. The gathering can last for many days as it is also an opportunity for elders to see compatriots that they haven't been able to for the whole year and catch up on news and clan doings without the business of the clans getting in the way. The gathering is also an opportunity to pit the youngsters against each other is a series of games, tests and combat to enable themselves admittance to the warrior elite.
Things now though are leading to change as the humans have come to Mars and are staring to encroach on Martian culture and territory. The humans originally came for exploration but now it is turning into exploitation which is becoming unbearable to the clan councils. Action has already been taken with raids on human mining colonies but more must be taken in ord for the humans to depart Mars. The gathering is being called again, not so long after the last one to decide on the best course of action to take against the humans and their City Martian allies...