I didn't even see them until after I heard the scream. They were a shadow, except for the eyes. Those eyes...
Function over Form
This pragmatism is evident in the uniforms worn by the most famous group of operatives among them: The Spectres.
Any Colour You Want
As long as it's black. Originally assumed to be a conscious choice for stealth or intimidation, the colour is simply a factor of the materials.
The stealth and fear benefits are happy side-effects.
Leather and Rubber
The odd shine to the spectres' outfits is one of the (many) factors contributing to their mystery.
Again, not a choice but a result of them being constructed first out of dyozhik leather (these older outifts feature more brown and grey hues), and more recently out of rubber from trees in the Belt.
Hoods and Masks
While both the hoods (that are worn just as often as not while on Neysuh) and the masks associated with spectres help maintain their anonymity, both have secondary purposes:
A thick hood is necessary on the cold dusk side of Rudeska. On Neyush, however, spectres have been seen with them raised just as often as not. Without them, it's clear to see that many spectres wear their hair far less stylised than is the current fashion in Yenagun.
Although the secret to making them was lost with their creator, he left behind the knowledge of an Absent procedure allowing spectres to use the devices to harness the power of the Nomad. The milky eyes sported by all spectres can see just fine; they are just a side-effect of that procedure.
He left confidently but when he returned, his body was still and colder even than the arctic landscape from which we operated. A wind accompanied the corpse that had come in his stead that burned our throats. I, like the rest of my people, am no stranger to death–it was not a fresh corpse. He had been alive hours ago, yet the evidence in front of me suggested he had perished days, if not weeks earlier.
These items aren't technically clothing, but no spectre is ever seen on-mission without them.
The proper Rudeskan Elveñan term for the Nomad teleporters that allow spectres to operate so efficiently. Thanks to the Nomad magic that powers them, they can carry out a mission and teleport back to Rudeska to avoid capture.
The very nature of their magic means that no teleporter stays on Neyush long enough to be studied in any real depth. Notes on their design and operation are mostly conjecture or the limited info gathered from spectres themselves.
What is known about them is that they are handheld, copper devices. They look somewhat similar to an hourglass with two glass sections, just with more tubing and wiring, a protruding failsafe switch, and a small gauge. One section of the 'hourglass' holds an unstable shard carved from a Nomad Philosopher's Stone.
If it's Stupid but it Works...
On activation, the shard is impossibly squeezed through the opening into the other section, putting the shard under incredible physical and extraplanar stress. Somehow, the Absent magic used to create the device harnesses the release of energy caused by this and hurls the nearest consciousness (and its body) from Rudeska to Neyush.
Start the Clock
After the first activiation, an invisible timer is started; the teleporter brutalises the already-unstable shard, which starts to break down and leak Nomad energy, giving the user a limited time window within which to re-activate it. On this second activation, the crystal is squeezed back through to the first chamber and the user is sent back to where they originally jumped from. The Nomad shard is destroyed after the stress of two trips.
All teleporters have a built-in failsafe that automatically triggers after a certain amount of time.
Their main purpose is to prevent the user being sent somewhere far worse when the shard of Philosopher's Stone breaks and releases chaotic energies, but they have the useful side-effect of ensuring that spectres (and their valuable teleporters) return home safely even they are captured or incapacitated.
Rudeska lacks many of the natural resources and much of the biodiversity that make Neyush such a thriving, complex planet. Those resources that do exist are usually found in the Belt, which is hotly contested by the native troll population.
Rudeskan vena managed to find evidence of old volcanic activity in parts of the Dusk side where trolls are unable to travel, and with that they found vast supplies of obsidian. Perfect for creating terrifying, deadly, disposable weapons.
Over the Years
Wrap Up Warm
Spectre blacks can be traced back to innocent roots. Anyone who has spent time in the frozen north of Pfemba has either heard of or has experienced first-hand the warmth of dyozhik-leather parkas.
The amphibious dyozhik have been synonymous with vena culture, heritage, and craftsmanship for centuries; even for a people displaced to another planet, that level of tradition is difficult to step away from, especially when said people live for hundreds of years individually.
Besides the impressive greenery, there seems to be a lot of useful rock and other building materials just below the surface. Long-lasting building materials. In addition, we should be able to use the sap from some of those trees to produce a rubber with which we can start making some functional clothing. I was lucky enough to have my dyozhikskin parka on me, but many among us were not.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
Even now, 157 years after the Blink, subtle shades of brown and grey in some spectres' outfits point to surviving traditional clothing. There is simply no material on Neyush that compares to the natural warmth and waterproofing of genuine dyozhik leather.
All leather, no matter how tough and hard-wearing, eventually wears down. With no livestock on Rudeska, the vena once again had to adapt. Fibres woven from strong plants allowed for repairs, but ultimately even they weren't enough to preserve the clothing they were wearing when the Blink happened.
The ancient trees in the Belt secrete a thick sap that can be easily processed into hard-wearing rubber. While not quite as insulating as dyozhik leather, it is enough to block out the harsh winds, a constant reminder that Rudeska is tidally-locked to the sun.
Along with its excellent waterproofing, Rudeskan rubber has made for a reasonable alternative, and it is this material that gives the spectres their signature, modern-day appearance.
The magical near extinction of the vena that brought an end to the Great War
The side of Rudeska facing away from the sun in a perpetual, frozen night