Arkay or Ark'ay, also known as the God of the Cycle of Birth and Death, is a major divinity of the Nine Divines, the official religion of the Cyrodilic Empires, and represents the qualities of birth and death, most particularly burials and funeral rites, as well as on occasion being linked to the cyclical nature of the seasons. Some sources state that Arkay's life began as a mortal, who joined the ranks of the gods.
His priests are staunch opponents of Necromancy and all forms of the undead. His followers regard him as the spirit who brings mortals both into and out of the world through both life and death, in a cycle that should not be disturbed.
He is known to have had a religious order, who see it as their duty to protect the souls of others through three consecrations, given at birth, death and after to protect souls from manipulation.
"Come to me, Arkay, for without you, there is neither breath nor beginning, nor can any man live, love, or learn without the spark of your spirit."
Arkay has had several diverse origins attributed to him at different times. Some say he is the son of Akatosh, who did not exist before Nirn was created. It is said by some, including Arkay's priesthood, that Arkay was a mortal man whose apotheosis was granted by Mara. Another source suggests that Arkay is one of the original spirits that crystallized after time began, meaning he was always a deity. Still others say that Arkay is a syncretic god, created from a fusion of Xarxes and Orkey, and is possibly also the same deity as the Yokudan Tu'whacca.
His main chapel was located in the Cyrodilic city of Cheydinhal, and he was one of the more prominent of the gods represented at the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. At his chapels, Arkay saw fit to bless parishioners with increased health. Arkay was honored in the form of statues that could be found in the Arboretum in the Imperial City. The priests of Arkay, along with his temples, were protected by a knightly order known as the Knights of the Circle. Along with his chapels and statues, the God of the Cycle of Birth and Death also had various wayshrines devoted to him scattered across Cyrodiil.
- Southwest of Skingrad and south of Silorn, near Cyrodiil's border with Elsweyr.
- North of Anvil, north of the Brina Cross Inn on the Gold Road, and just southeast of Bleak Mine.
- Southwest of Skingrad to the southeast of Fat Rat Camp.
- The Breath of Arkay spell will be received upon praying at any of these shrines.
Arkay's only known artifact is the Sword of the Crusader. This sword was Arkay's gift to Pelinal Whitestrake in his quest to help Alessia defeat the Ayleids. Centuries later, it was found by the Knights of the Nine during their search for the crusader's relics. It was used by Sir Berich Vlindrel along with the Greaves of the Crusader. Sir Berich took both of these relics with him when he went to fight in the War of the Red Diamond. Some time later, it ended up in Underpall Cave in a cursed state, being wielded by the ghost of lore Vlindrel himself. The Hero of Kvatch retrieved it from here and sanctified it in the chapel of Arkay in Cheydinhal.
- Arkay – Nine Divines, Bretony Pantheon and Bosmeri Pantheon
- Orkey – Nordic Pantheon
- Tu'whacca – Redguard Pantheon
- Xarxes – Bosmeri Pantheon and Altmeri Pantheon
- Arkay's symbol appears on the label of Potent magicka and stamina poisons, virulent and deadly poisons, and elemental aversion poisons in Skyrim.
- Arkay was named after one of the original beta testers of Daggerfall, R. K. Deutsch.[UL 1]
- The Elder Scrolls: Arena (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (mentioned only)
- Ark'ay The God
- Varieties of Faith in the Empire
- Arkay the Enemy
- Skyrim loading screens
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall[source?]
- The Consecrations of Arkay - Punctilius Tyrus
- Pocket Guide to the Empire, Third Edition: Foreword
- Conversations of Runil
- The Monomyth
- Tu'whacca, Arkay, Xarxes - Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
- Wayshrines seen when playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- Shrines seen when playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Events of The Sword of the Crusader
- Sir Amiel's Journal
- Generic dialogue with Imperial Cult members
- Ten Commands: Nine Divines