Arvak is a skeletal horse that the Dragonborn can obtain as a mount after finding his skull in the Soul Cairn. The soul that gives the quest will then teach the Dragonborn the spell to summon Arvak, whether within the Soul Cairn or in Tamriel.
Arvak's body is skeletal in appearance, his eyes glow white, and his mane and tail burn with a purple flame effect similar to that found in bound weaponry.
Upon entering the Soul Cairn, when following the initial path that leads to the entrance to the Boneyard, the Dragonborn will come across a frantic Soul calling, "Arvak, Arvak!" He will explain how he and his loyal steed, Arvak, came to this realm and were attacked by monsters. He says he told Arvak to run, that Arvak is still running, and has been for a long time.
He begs the Dragonborn to find Arvak and disappears. Arvak's skull must be located in the Soul Cairn to free him, though Arvak can occasionally be seen running through the Soul Cairn.
Arvak's skull can be found due east from the front gate of the Boneyard where Valerica is found. It will be sitting on a pedestal surrounded by ghosts that turn into Mistmen. After obtaining the skull, the soul who was looking for the horse will appear nearby and teach the Dragonborn how to summon Arvak.
Once the spell to summon Arvak is gained, he can be summoned in either the Soul Cairn or in the wilds of Skyrim. He cannot, however, be summoned in any walled cities like Whiterun or Solitude. He can be summoned in Blackreach, but not in the Forgotten Vale.
No experience towards the Conjuration skill is gained by summoning him. His skull does not need to remain in the inventory in order to summon him. If the Twin Souls Conjuration perk has been unlocked, two separate incarnations of Arvak can be summoned.
When riding Arvak, the spell will not run out. The spell will start to loop, and the 'Active Effects' tab counts down from five seconds repeatedly until Arvak is dismounted, at which point the spell's effect will count down normally.
He behaves like other summoned creatures, rather than the variety of horses available. For example, rather than staying in one place, Arvak will follow the Dragonborn when not being ridden. If he dies in combat, he can be re-summoned, adding to his usefulness. Summoning Arvak and mounting him will replace any currently owned horse, including a purchased one, Frost and Shadowmere. They will, however, reappear after a certain amount of time where they were originally acquired.
- Arvak can prove extremely useful if over encumbered and far away from any locations where items can be sold or stored.
- Arvak can be used to level offensive combat skills, such as One-Handed.
- Arvak can be used as a substitute for the Become Ethereal shout in order to descend long vertical drops unharmed, by summoning and mounting Arvak and then riding off the cliff. Arvak will take much of the fall damage, and the Dragonborn will remain relatively unharmed.
- In the Soul Cairn, there are many ruins with bars keeping the Dragonborn out of them. These can be passed by summoning Arvak through the gate, then activating him. This will cause the Dragonborn to mount Arvak through the gate (this can also be used on similar bar-structures in Tamriel).
- In earlier versions, Arvak could be summoned in Solstheim, while other horses could not be brought to the island, but this is no longer true.
- If Arvak dies, the Dragonborn can re-summon him, allowing them to not worry about their horse dying.
- In Norse mythology, Árvakur is one of the two horses which pull the sun, or Sol's chariot, across the sky each day.
- Every now and then, the Dragonborn can observe Arvak running in a random direction within the Soul Cairn.
- Arvak might be inspired by the Nightmare, a monstrous fire-maned steed from the Lower Planes of Existence in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game.
- Two Arvaks may be summoned at the same time if the dragonborn has the Twin Souls perk from the Conjuration tree.
- Keeper with a weapon can result in the keeper being sent flying and dying upon landing, a long distance away. If the Dragonborn is riding Arvak while in the Soul Cairn striking a
- As with other horses, if riding Arvak while he is swimming, the Dragonborn may be able to dismount and then re-mount Arvak, and the horse will be able to walk and run full speed as if on land.
- Sometimes when having summoned Arvak, when he is de-spawning and the Dragonborn attempts to ride him, the Dragonborn is placed on Arvak's back just as he is de-spawning. The Dragonborn is left in a sitting position. The camera angle is locked and some activities such as fighting are also locked.
- When riding Arvak in water, water ripples may follow the movements of the Dragonborn and the horse, though to the left a bit. The same is true when riding on land and passing water on the left. Water ripples will follow parallel to Arvak.
- If the Dragonborn summons Arvak and rides him (Arvak can be summoned for 60 seconds), when his time finishes he will die and the Dragonborn will fall from him as Arvak has been killed. This glitch is very rare and its cause is unknown.
|Creatures and Enemies (The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard)|
|Named Creatures||Arvak • Bran • CuSith • The Forgemaster • Garmr • Naaslaarum • Sceolang • The Reaper • Voslaarum|
|Docile Creatures||Ancestor Moth • Armored Troll • Armored Frost Troll • Bone Hawk • Frost Giant |
Husky • Shellbug • Vale Deer • Soul Wisp
|Hostile Creatures||Ancient Frost Atronach • Chaurus Hunter • Chaurus Hunter Fledgling • Death Hound |
Falmer Warmonger • Feral Falmer • Frozen Chaurus • Frozen Falmer • Gargoyle (Brute • Sentinel)
Legendary Dragon • Revered Dragon • Spriggan Earth Mother • Vale Sabre Cat
|Undead||Boneman • Keeper • Mistman • Wrathman • Nightlord Vampire • Nightmaster Vampire|