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Ages ago Primus, feeling that he possessed too much power to be held by one being, created four "brothers" to serve as his teammates, with each of the five being granted various traits and powers:
- Primus - Source of Life and Light for the Transformers.
- Adaptus - The Master of "Infinite Shapes."
- Epistemus - "Knowledge Personified"
- Solomus - "Wisdom Incarnate"
- Mortilus - "The Death-Bringer"
The Guiding Hand created the first Transformers and led them during the first Golden Age of Cybertron, but Mortilus later betrayed the others in pursuit of conquest. The resulting struggle saw the fall of the Guiding Hand, who were later replaced by the Knights of Cybertron, but their influence would continue to be felt throughout the ages. Primus took up residence in the heart of the planet, and would continue to communicate with his descendants using Vector Sigma, while Epistemus and Adaptus would become prototypes for two vital pieces of Transformers biology: the brain module and the Transformation cog. Solomus, whom Mortilus had imprisoned in a vessel, became the Matrix of Leadership, sharing his wisdom with those deemed worthy and also allowing them to commune with Primus himself. Mortilus' demise brought the Transformers virtual immortality; while they could still be killed, the passage of time could not bring about their death.
Primus' role as the original creator of the Transformers is in place throughout various continuities, but other members of the Hand-the sole exception being Mortilus-were featured in various incarnations of the Thirteen Primes. Most notably, Adaptus is often identified with Amalgamous Prime, due to their shared shapeshifting ability, while Vector Prime indicated that Solomus might be an alternate version of Alpha Trion. Epistemus is simply featured as one of the possible "multiversal singularity" Primes, appearing in place of Aligned Continuity exclusives like Amalgamous or Quintus Prime. "Ask Vector Prime" also indicated that versions of Mortilus might have survived beyond his apparent demise and continued to plague the universe through various means, whether through his namesake Zarak or evil artifacts such as the Dark Spark.