Of all the hosts, the Tigress and the Eagle were selected as successors because the transformations they had gone through had been the most profound of any host who had ever joined with a Lategis.
The Tigress had come to the Hospes Lategum as a cub in a small cage, bought from a merchant travelling west through Wallachia to Rome. The fate that awaited the cub in Rome was uncertain, but the Alpha at the time was certain that it would be unpleasant, and so bought the cub from the merchant.
The mental transformation of the Tigress was, in many ways, even more profound than the physical transformation. As a tiger, she had been born with instincts that drove her to hunt and kill, but these instincts were quickly replaced after the joining with curiosity and an amazing gentleness. While the fierceness of the tiger still resides in the heart of the current Alpha, it no longer fuels urges to hunt and kill, but to protect and learn.
The mental transformation was quite rapid at first, and the young Tigress was communicating visually within a few months. She expressed simple things at first, but as time went on she learned to express more complex concepts.
Visual communication gave way to verbal communication after about two years. While the young Tigress still walked on all four legs at that point, she was able to form words.
She developed a deep love of learning and was curious about the world around her. By the time she was 20 years old, she was walking upright, speaking fluently, and she had a developed a mental capacity on par with even the brightest of the human Hospes. She also had senses that operated on a level that humans just could not achieve.
The other uplift through bonding was an Eagle. His appearance was unique in that his feathers stuck out through his Lategis. The Lategis was able to sense how the Eagle’s feathers connected to nerves in his wings to allow him to feel his airspeed, wind direction and a myriad of other factors needed for flight, and as a result, it wouldn't coat the feathers on the Eagle’s wings or tail.
Like the Tigress, the Eagle grew in size and intellect, and most amazingly, he grew a second set of legs. He was still able to fly despite his substantially increased mass, as his bones remained hollow. In addition, the Eagle's wings grew along with the rest of him until his wingspan was over 20 feet fully extended. He still had talons, a curved beak, and remarkable eyesight like any eagle, but he also had the intellect to match any Hospes. As a result, he became the leader of the Defensores, and held the position for almost 200 years, until his death during the during the Second World War.
Written 2016-09-18 by β3491