Arkay or Ark'ay, colloquially 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. Arkay is not only a member of the Nine Divines, but was a popular divinity across Tamriel and can be found in many diverse pantheons. 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 sometimes associated with 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. Sometimes called The Mortals' God, Arkay is the great spirit who brought every man and woman, Nede, Mer, Khajiit, and Argonian into the world, and when he deemed the time right he ended their circle of life and death. Arkay is fertility and blight, joy and sorrow. Arkay stands for blessed neutrality and his chapels do not offer blessings to pilgrims, as giving either favor or curse would be to upset the eternal balance.
"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."
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.
Genealogy, apotheosis, and godhood
Arkay is the son of Akatosh. Since Mara may have been the wife of Akatosh, it is believed she may be his mother. However, it is unclear whether Mara was, in fact, the wife of Akatosh, the wife of Lorkhan, or a concubine of both.[source?] One scholar wrote that Arkay was a mortal man whose apotheosis was granted by Mara. This source suggests that Arkay is a demi-god—born of Akatosh and a mortal woman. Another source suggests that Arkay is one of the original spirits that crystallized after time began, meaning he was always a deity. It was said that Arkay did not exist before the world of Nirn was created by the Nine Divines under Lorkhan's supervision. Therefore, he was sometimes called the Mortals' God.
Relation to other deities
Although Alduin and Paarthurnax are not always labeled as deities in the Nordic pantheon, Akatosh is credited as being the creator or metaphorical "father" of all dragons. Because of this, Alduin stylizes himself as the "First Born of Akatosh" This does not necessarily mean Arkay, Alduin, or any of the other dragons are siblings.
- 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 symbol appears on the label of Potent Magicka and Stamina poisons, Virulent and Deadly poisons, and elemental Aversion poisons in Skyrim.
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