The uniform worn by the Hospes Lategum has a long history, beginning with the days of the First. It’s evolved over the years to the practical, comfortable, and attractive garment we wear today.
After the First became known to others, he stopped wearing the full cloak that he’d first adopted when he was the only Host. There wasn’t a secret to be kept. Instead, he went back to the short tunic and loincloth that the Osci wore as a matter of course. The people of Pompeii soon found the presence of people coated in glossy black unremarkable. The Lategum, meanwhile, were happy that they weren’t covered and could use their photosynthetic abilities again.
As more were joined with Lategum, they kept their previous clothing. As they came from different castes of society, the clothing varied in quality from simple to elaborate and from barely functional to well made and durable. Since everyone knew each other, this wasn’t too much of a problem.
After the migration to Targoviste, however, and the ascension of the first Alpha, new Hosts were added from the new area. It quickly became evident that clothing became a status symbol. The Alpha decided that that needed to change since it went against her determination to see that all Hosts were equal. She decreed that all would wear the same clothing and that would be the simple tunic and loincloth that the First had worn.
She also decided that names were something else that needed to go since they conveyed status - in this case, the status of being one of the original Hosts, or one of the new ones from Targoviste and the local area. She was at a loss for what to do about it until the Lategum pointed out to her that they identify their Hosts to themselves by something that translates to a number. She got the number for each one and instructed them to paint them on their tunics where they could be seen to help each Host learn his fellows.
This immediately posed a problem. The numbering system in use at the time was extremely cumbersome for numbers as large as the Lategum assigned. They used a different numbering system among themselves, and they painstakingly taught it to the Alpha and the Betas. The symbols they used were lost to us now, but the system is what we recognize today as Arabic numerals. The Hospes Lategum used it more than 900 years before it became widely known.
The uniforms stayed the same for more than 1500 years, even as fashions in the wider world changed. They worked well enough, but they did have some problems. Most notably, they tended to get in the way at times while working outside. The Hosts had little in the way of body modesty, since one effect of joining with a Host was to render them in excellent physical condition and hide the private parts unless it was desired to reveal them, but they did need clothing to interact with those not of the Hospes Lategum, and the nudity taboo has always been deeply ingrained in human cultures.
The second Alpha was never particularly happy with wearing clothing, but she recognized the need. Still, she wished for something less restrictive. The solution finally presented itself in the late 1860s. The daring young man on the flying trapeze, Jules Léotard, became known not only for his acrobatics but his costume. The Alpha heard of that and acquired one. Trying it on, she realized that it solved her objections. What she didn’t anticipate was the surge of pleasure the feeling of the fabric next to her Lategis, especially the most sensitive parts, gave her. The original garment covered the arms and legs, and her Lategis let her know that needed to change, so she cut them off, leaving just the part that covered the torso and short sleeves.
The results surprised the assembled Hospes when she first wore it before them. They had all felt her surge of arousal when she first donned it, but seeing it for themselves showed why - and for not a few, the sight of her body in it heightened their own feelings of arousal. The decree that that was going to be the basis for their new uniform was met with general approval. One artistically inclined Gamma suggested that, instead of being plain cloth, the garment be decorated simply, with a place for the ID number and different colors for the different ranks. The Alpha accepted that suggestion right away and added one more element: the droplet that had been the symbol of the Lategum for as long as a symbol had been needed.
While the original, heavily labor-intensive knitted wool has been replaced with latex, the result is otherwise the same uniform in use today.
Written 2016-09-28 by α8369