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There are two legends about Arkay's origin. The book ''{{Lore Link|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 [[Lore:Mara|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.{{Ref|{{Cite Book|Ark'ay, the God of Birth and Death}}}}{{Ref|{{Cite Book|Varieties of Faith...}}}}{{Ref|name=ATE}} The alternative is contained in ''{{Lore Link|The Monomyth}}'', which suggests that Arkay was one of the very first spirits to "crystallize" after the start of time.{{Ref|{{Cite Book|The Monomyth}}}}
Comparing Arkay to [[Lore:Tu'whacca|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.{{Ref|name=TAX|{{Cite Book|Tu'whacca, Arkay, Xarxes}}}} Sources have conflated Arkay with the Yokudan [[Lore:Morwha|Morwha]] in the past although it’s unknown if this was speaking to a true connection or was simply a scholarly mistake.{{ref|name=RGCompanion|{{Cite Book|The Redguard Companion|ns_base=Books}}}} Arkay created the [[Lore:Crusader's Relics#Sword of the Crusader|Sword of the Crusader]] for [[Lore:Pelinal Whitestrake|Pelinal Whitestrake]], to help him defeat [[Lore:Umaril the Unfeathered|Umaril the Unfeathered]].
The [[Lore:Order of Arkay|Order of Arkay]] has temples in [[Lore:Sentinel (kingdom)|Sentinel]], [[Lore:Ilessan Hills|Ilessan Hills]], {{Lore Link|Shalgora}}, [[Lore:Dragontail Mountains|Dragontail Mountains]], and [[Lore:Orsinium|Orsinium]].<noinclude>
RG-sign-Temple of Arkay.png|Temple of Arkay sign, as seen in [[Redguard:Redguard|Redguard]]
BL-misc-Arkay.png|Depiction of Arkay
File:RG-place-Arkay Fertility Statue.jpg|An “Arkay fertility statue” that depicts the Yokudan Morwha