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Sanctum was colonized by a team from Earth made up of 4 families... the Primes. Their blood rules us still.
Delilah Workman [src]

The Primes were the four original families that colonized Sanctum after settling there as part of the Eligius III's Mission Team Alpha. They built a sanctuary and a microstate, known as Sanctum, and protected it with a radiation shield dome to keep their people safe. Inside Sanctum, the Primes are revered as divine, royal and therefore leaders among the Sanctumites. The Primes have lived on for generations by transferring their consciousness into new black blood hosts during a holy, Naming Day ceremony. Only people with Royal Blood (Nightblood) can serve as hosts for the Primes.

A Prime's consciousness is stored in a cybernetic implant, known as the Mind Drive -a jailbroken early version of A.L.I.E. 2.0 (the Flame). When the Prime's Mind Drive implant is inserted into a person with royal blood, the Prime's consciousness takes over the host, replacing their memories and personalities. In so doing, the Prime gets to live on through the host.[1] However, as seen with Clarke Griffin, the mind wipe sometimes fails after the transfer goes wrong as one of their hosts continue to survive, trapped within their own minds despite claims that the host's mind is wiped. According to Josephine, it's been hundreds of years since a mind wipe has failed. However, it is revealed that Clarke survived the implantation of the Mind Drives because she still had A.L.I.E.'s neural mesh inside of her. According to Clarke, it has interfered with it they used to wipe her mind, thanks to Clarke's experiences with A.L.I.E.

There were a total of twelve Primes. The thirteenth Prime, Gabriel Santiago, had a moral awakening and defected against his fellow Primes. In an effort to stop the resurrections, he destroyed the remaining Nightblood embryos and escaped being burned at the stake with the help of fellow Prime Ryker Desai. His followers became known as the Children of Gabriel. In Matryoshka, after Marcus Kane was resurrected using the Mind Drive technology, it was shown that Russell anticipated that he would become a new member of the Primes as would John Murphy if he had also used a Mind Drive. In Adjustment Protocol, Russell claimed that Murphy and Emori were the resurrected Daniel and Kaylee Lee whose Mind Drives had been deleted by Simone and were thus dead. As of The Blood of Sanctum, the only living and active Primes are Russell Lightbourne and Gabriel Santiago. However, Priya and Ryker's Mind Drives remain intact, leaving open the possibility that they could be resurrected again in the future.

In "From the Ashes", Priya's Mind Drive is destroyed by Russell while Russell himself is killed by Sheidheda in the Mindspace, leaving the Primes extinct aside from the dormant Ryker and the defected Gabriel.

In "The Flock", Murphy, Emori and Sheidheda reveal the truth about the deaths of the remaining Primes to the Faithful shortly before the Dark Commander slaughters most of them.

In "A Sort of Homecoming", Gabriel is killed by the Dark Commander, leaving all of the Primes dead or dormant.

After most of the human race transcends in "The Last War", Ryker is effectively dead as he did not have a living host at the time, leaving the Primes extinct once and for all. According to Josephine, if the Primes "stayed on ice" longer, they'll die forever.


The first Primes originated from a group of colonists, Mission Team Alpha, who are also referred to as the Primes. They colonized Sanctum and became the ruling family through the bodies of the Nightblood hosts. They have rules for surviving on Alpha, by having times needed to get to Ryker's Keep, Tai Chi, Harvest Festival, Naming Day and jobs.

The Sanctumites saw them as spiritual gods, but in reality, the Primes are actually corrupt leaders, who are secretly killing innocent Nightblood hosts to steal their bodies for immortality and to remain in power. Because of this, they met opposition from an anti-Prime faction, known as the Children of Gabriel, founded by a former Prime named Gabriel Santiago. However, according to Josephine Lightbourne, they've killed exactly no Primes in the 70 years since Gabriel left Sanctum,[2] implying that the Children of Gabriel has failed many times to overthrow the corrupt Prime family.

After the arrival of the people from Earth, conflict erupted between the Primes, Clarke and her friends which led to an uprising by the Sanctumites when they learned the truth. All of the Primes, except Russell Lightbourne and the defected Gabriel Santiago, were killed and Russell was imprisoned for his crimes. Russell, now showing a death wish with the loss of his family and everything he cared about, later destroyed Priya's Mind Drive when Jordan Green brought it to him. After being knocked out by Clarke, Russell was secretly killed by Sheidheda, leaving Gabriel as the only living Prime. However, everyone was left unaware of Russell's death and the resurrection of Sheidheda. To the people of Sanctum, Daniel and Kaylee Lee, in reality John Murphy and Emori posing as the deceased Primes, remain alive. Clarke and her friends see having Murphy and Emori continue the charade of the two Primes, a role in which they had helped in the revolt when Russell enacted the Adjustment Protocol, as a way of helping to maintain the peace between the various factions on Sanctum in the long run. Posing as Daniel and Kaylee, Murphy and Emori help to deescalate various conflicts with the Faithful, Russell's remaining fanatical followers.

After the Eligius Prisoners and the Children of Gabriel teamed up together under the influence of Sheidheda, the truth about Daniel, Kaylee and Russell's deaths become widely known. Sheidheda massacres both the Children of Gabriel and the Faithful, but Murphy, with the help of Emori, takes command of the survivors. Subsequently, the Dark Commander kills Gabriel while he is protecting Madi Griffin, leaving all of the Primes dead or dormant and effectively bringing a final end to the Primes. According to Josephine, if the Primes stayed dormant more longer, they'll die forever.


Notes and Trivia

  • The Primes became the fourth group of people to become extinct in the show. The other three groups being the Reapers, the Mountain Men and Floukru.
  • According to Josephine, if the Primes stayed in the Mind Drive more longer, they'll die forever.
  • The exact number of Alpha-team members killed by Russell on and off-screen during the Red Sun Eclipse is never made clear. Aside from the ones killed on-screen during "Red Sun Rising", Priya and Ryker are known to have fallen victim as well as confirmed by Ryker in "Memento Mori". However, at least some survived such as Gabriel who died of natural causes before his first resurrection.
  • Their skeletons and the skeletons of their deceased hosts are kept in a huge room inside the Palace in Sanctum. The ones on the front are the original Mission Team Alpha.
  • Viewed as Gods by the people of Sanctum, the twelve Primes seems to mirror the Twelve Olympians of the Greek Mythology, with an angry Ryker even branding the Primes' leader, Russell, as Zeus, the first among the Olympians.
  • The system of importance in Sanctum goes as follows: The Primes (who act as leaders), royal bloods/nightbloods (who haven't been given a mind drive yet), non-royal blood/non-nightbloods AKA the normal civilians of Sanctum (those who carry the nightblood gene but aren't nightbloods themselves), and Nulls (those entirely without the nightblood gene).
  • According to Cillian, not everyone in Sanctum believes in the "divinity of the Primes".
  • Miranda Mason, and Kaylee Lee, are known to have taken Null lovers, while Daniel Lee had a lover who is a red-blooded carrier of Royal Blood gene.
    • Daniel's lover is a man named Zev, revealing that Daniel was LGBT.
  • According to Josephine in "Nevermind," the last Primes who "went on ice" died forever, implying that there were more other Primes aside from the 13 other Primes, presumably they were the former members of Mission Team Alpha.