- Arkay says: Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead. — Ten Commands: Nine Divines
Arkay (or Ark'ay), Lord of the Wheel of Life, is a member of the Divines, and also a popular god in other cultures. Arkay is often more important in those cultures where his father, Akatosh, is either less related to time or where his time aspects are difficult to comprehend by the layman. He is the god of burials and funeral rites, and is generally associated with cyclical occasions, such as the seasons and life/death. His priests are staunch opponents of necromancy and all forms of the undead, and are empowered to bestow Arkay's blessings which prevent the forceful misuse of a mortal soul. Thus, any body properly buried by a priest observing the proper rituals is protected by Arkay's Law from being raised as undead. Therefore, necromancers view Arkay as their ultimate enemy, and make covert efforts to undermine his worship throughout Tamriel. Because of this association with, and protection of, mortality, he is sometimes called the Mortals' God.
There are two legends about Arkay's origin. The book Ark'ay the God of Birth and Death has it that Arkay was once a regular shopkeeper with a passion for knowledge. He found a book written in a strange language and spent years upon years attempting to decipher it, slowly ignoring everything and everyone else around him. Eventually Arkay realized the book explained life and death itself, but by this time was at death's door with an incurable plague. Praying to Mara as a last resort, Arkay asked for more time to interpret the book. Mara gave him a choice: die now or become a god for eternity, charged with keeping the balance of death and life in the universe. The alternative is contained in The Monomyth, which suggests that Arkay was one of the very first spirits to "crystallize" after the start of time.
Comparing Arkay to Tu'whacca, Yokudan God of Souls, shows this story is allegorical, framing the sequence of events by which an anonymous Aedra found new purpose in the constructs of the mortal plane and took up the mantle of life and death. Sources have conflated Arkay with the Yokudan goddess Morwha in the past although it’s unknown if this was speaking to a true connection or was simply a scholarly mistake. Arkay created the Sword of the Crusader for Pelinal Whitestrake, to help him defeat Umaril the Unfeathered.
The planet known as Arkay (sometimes called RKHET or the Eye of the Thief)[UOL 1] is one of the Dominion Planets in the skies of Mundus,[UOL 1] and according to the Warrior-Poet, Vivec, it is one of the eight known worlds. Arkay marks the eye of the Thief constellation. The planet is simultaneously Arkay and the plane of Arkay, just like the other planets and their eponymous patrons.[UOL 1]
For the longest time, nothing had orbited the small planet, that was until the King of Worms, Mannimarco had ascended to godhood in light of the Warp in the West. He had apparently taken on a new form, the Necromancer's Moon and eclipses Arkay's light for a week, shining down a purple light called the Shade of the Revenant. Various altars constructed in far-off places like the Dark Fissure harness the light to create Black Soul Gems.
A symbol for the Order of Arkay, as seen in Daggerfall
The Great Chapel of Arkay, as seen in Oblivion
A shrine of Arkay, as seen in Skyrim
Temple of Arkay sign, as seen in Redguard
- The Illusion of Death suggests that the cycle of life and death is also called the "Arkayn Cycle".
- Arkay the Enemy by KW — Instructions for the faithful to foil Arkay
- Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death by Mymophonus the scribe — How Ark'ay was transformed from a shopkeeper into the God of Birth and Death
- Tu'whacca, Arkay, Xarxes by Lady Cinnabar of Taneth — A discussion on the similarity of gods
- The Consecrations of Arkay by Punctilius Tyrus — The beliefs and practices of the Order of Arkay
- The Consecrations of Arkay — Punctilius Tyrus
- Opusculus Lamae Bal ta Mezzamortie — Mabei Aywenil, Scribe
- Corpse Preparation v I
- Arkay the Enemy — KW
- Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death — Mymophonus the scribe
- Varieties of Faith... — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- The Monomyth
- Tu'whacca, Arkay, Xarxes — Lady Cinnabar of Taneth
- The Redguard Companion
- 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 3 — Vivec
- The Orrery in Cyrodiil — The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
- Necromancer's Moon
Note: the following references are not from official sources. They are included to provide a rounder background to this article, but may not reflect established lore.
- Cosmology - Temple Zero Society at The Imperial Library