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"Orkey tests all mortals, He likes to start all quarrels. A snake no one can flee, None may fool wary Orkey."
—- The Song of Gods

Orkey, also known as Old Knocker[1] and the Death-God[2], is the god of mortality in the religion of the Nords. Some sources describe him as a "loan-god" of the Nords who combines aspects of Malacath and Arkay and whose worship was taken up during Aldmeri rule of Atmora,[1] while others consider Orkey to be a primal Atmoran god with Arkay instead being a fusion of Atmoran and Aldmeri elements.[2] In Nordic iconography, Orkey is represented by a snake.[3]


According to Imperial scholars, the Nords believe they once lived as long as Elves until Orkey appeared; through heathen trickery, he fooled them into a bargain that "bound them to the count of winters", and the Nordic lifespan was reduced to six years due to Orkey's foul magic. Through unknown means, Shor showed up and removed the curse, throwing most of it onto the nearby Orcs.[1]

Nordic legend goes into greater detail with the story of Orkey and clarifies some of the details. Their stories claim that Orkey had long plagued them, and had stolen their years away while they were still in Atmora in the Merethic Era. During the reign of High King Wulfharth in the First Era, Orkey summoned Alduin, and nearly every Nord was "eaten down" to six years old by the Time-Eater. King Wulfharth, who had become a boy, pleaded to Shor for help. Shor's own ghost then fought Alduin on the spirit plane, as he did at the beginning of time, and he won, and Orkey's folk, the Orcs, were ruined. It was by watching this battle in the sky that Wulfharth learned how to use the thu'um to reverse what Orkey and Alduin had done to the Nords. His effort, while successful, cost Wulfharth his life.[4]


Priests of Orkey are known to look after Halls of the Dead and ensure that corpses are properly consecrated and cared for.[5][6]

Orkey, being a death-obsessed god who likes "all quarrels"[3] (and perhaps became associated with the Orsimer for that very reason), is widely regarded as one of the Testing Gods of the Nord religion, those figures the religion advises to guard against rather than to worship amiably.[7] Some Nords keep small statues of Testing Gods in their households and try to keep these gods appeased.[8] Nevertheless, maybe due to the established priesthood of Orkey performing embalming rites in the Halls of the Dead, some sources do not list him among the Testing Gods for the Nords, and instead list Orkey alongside Mara, Stuhn, and the other central gods.[1]



  • There is a hazardous cave on Bleakrock Isle named Orkey's Hollow.
  • In Sedulus' "Theory of Arkayn Convergence", they proposed that the Arkay originated as a fusion of aspects of the Elven deity Xarxes with those of the primal Atmoran death-god Orkey.[2]
  • One of the Five Hundred Companions known as Kjhelt was a member of the Cult of Orkey.[UOL 1]


Note: The following references are considered to be unofficial sources. They are included to round off this article and may not be authoritative or conclusive.