Hydrium, that marvelous Martian miasma, is of course what provides so many large creatures on Mars with the lift necessary for flight. It is naturally occuring in many animal species, and in at least one plant species, the hydrium tree, more commonly known as 'liftwood.' The fact that hydrium has a greater lifting potential than hydrogen while remaining totally non-flammable makes it an extremely valuable commodity.
"Coupled with the slightly reduced gravitational effects on the Red Planet," states Professor Percival Botham, "naturally occurring plant-based hydrium makes very large objects capable of flight without the use of cumbersome gas bags. With gas bags, the scale of such aerial behemoths becomes astonishing."
Until recently, it was thought by Earthly scientists that hydrium was a natural digestive byproduct unique to Martian biology. However, the eminent Texican geologist, Howard Burroughs, has discovered a natural 'well' of pure hydrium gas in a secret location in the remote agricultural Ghola District of the Martian Crown Colony. Mr. Burroughs was searching for petroleum deposits when he noticed the distinctive mango-like scent of hydrium in the air.
The ramifications of this discovery may upset the delicate balance of power between the European states on Mars and their allies, thanks to the frontier location of the sleepy Ghola District. Naturally, Her Majesty's Government lays claim to the strategically important mineral, as is only right, providing Mr. Burroughs with a handsome percentage of the profit to be obtained from hydrium development without burdening the man of science with the tawdry financial details.
This journal hopes to be able to produce an 8-part photostatic essay on the creation of a Martian "ghost" archer in the near future. Please be so kind as to keep an eye out for these mysterious red devils of the deserts. While no one knows their plans at this time, such furtive, secretive activity can not possibly indicate trustworthiness. The author suspects the hand of the perfidious Hun behind these strange natives.
As promised, good readers, here is a rather poor photostatic image of the Prince Gopotty astride his mighty flying mount. The photographer was severely mauled by the golden whorled deathray immediately following the capture of this image; donations to his widow may be sent care of this journal, made out to cash.
[Editor's Note: Hydrium is a wonder gas introduced by James Oppel in his novel Airborn. I highly recommend it for younger readers and as a light read. Not exactly Victorian, but it has zeppelins and air pirates, so how bad could it be?]