L’Arca (previously Orph) is a region in Dragon Quest VII. It is found west of Estard Island. The namesake village is notable for its worship of animals, and most of the residents speak in a heavy Italian accent
Long before the party arrives, L’Arca was protected by a race of white wolves. A hackrobat once threatened the town, but the white wolves fought the monster and sealed him in a coffin within the Grotta del Sigillo (formerly Mt. Ceide), the mountain of the Almighty. However, it did not come without a price. Many wolves were slain. For a time, there was peace.
However, some time before the arrival of the party, the coffin was opened from the outside and the hackrobat returned. In vengeance, he began to kill the wolves that imprisoned him long ago. One of the casualties was a mother wolf. She gave birth to a wolf cub who was taken in by a local farmer. To spite the wolves, he cast a spell on L’Arca which changed all humans into animals and vice versa. He returned to the Grotta del Sigillo afterwards.
The Hero, Kiefer, and Maribel reach L’Arca after having unsealed the world's smallest island. As they enter the village, they notice that something seems off. Animals are running through the village and all of the humans are unable to communicate. Inside a shack, they find a young boy chained to a wall by his neck. The Hero and his party are neither able to free him nor talk with any of the humans. They eventually seek the help of the woodcutter, a man who lives in a house near Pilchard Bay. This man has the unusual ability to talk to the animals.
After a quick chat, the party takes the woodcutter back to L’Arca and tries to talk with one of the animals. However, the woodcutter finds that he is unable to speak with them. In a rather strange twist, he can talk with the humans. After talking to several more, the woodcutter has a theory as to why the humans cannot speak: they are not really human. Rather, they are animals in human form, and the humans are in animal form. From the former, the woodcutter learns the story of L’Arca, assembling it as best he can for the heroes.
With the party directing him to the shack, the woodcutter frees the chained boy, who then runs off toward the grotto. The four have little choice but to follow him.
Reaching the peak of the Grotta del Sigillo, the party finds the source of the curse all along: the hackrobat. The creature explains what he did and how he did it. Moments later, the boy rushes in and bites the monster, allowing the party, along with the woodcutter, to engage the monster in combat. The hackrobat is defeated and the boy bites him again. With this bite, the hackrobat is paralysed. He realises that the boy is actually a white wolf who was caught in the spell that he cast in L’Arca. As a final spite, the hackrobat casts his final spell on the boy. This spell curses him to remain in human form forever. Nonetheless, the party reseals the hackrobat in the coffin again, undoing the spell on L’Arca.
After the battle is finished, the party thanks the boy, who identifies himself as Ruff. They are surprised that he is able to speak but can only vocalise as a wolf, occasionally speaking simple words like "Ruff go".
The party returns to L’Arca to see the spell undone. They visit the farmer who took care of Ruff to find his disbelief that the wolf had disappeared. Leaving the shack, they see Ruff and his wolf friend outside the building. The woodcutter understands that he wanted to thank the man for his kindness. The woodcutter then decides to adopt Ruff.
The party, along with the mother wolf, the woodcutter and Ruff, return to the portal and step through it, finding themselves back in the Shrine of Mysteries. The woodcutter tries to bring Ruff with him, but he refuses, saying that the seal on the hackrobat could have only been broken on the outside and that whomever broke the seal was very powerful. Therefore, he wanted to defeat the evil that broke the seal in Grotta del Sigillo. The woodcutter acknowledges this requests and allows Ruff to go with the party.
Animals are now part of the history of L’Arca; when the party enters the town, they find that everyone dresses like animals. After visiting the village Elder, they learn of the festival honouring the town's animal saviours; they get costumes which will allow them to talk to the villagers. They will also participate in a game to find the three women disguised as animals. Winning their game will award the party the Big Book of Beasts.
The party next goes to the Grotta del Sigillo and returns to the place where the hackrobat was previously sealed. They hear a voice telling them to run away or face the consequences. Instead, they open up the coffin once more. The hackrobat is revealed to be in a human form now. He figures that it is punishment for what he did before. He recognises the party and wants to make up what he did to Ruff in the past. He tries using magic to return Ruff to his wolf form, but he fails. Instead, he makes him more human and gives Ruff the power to speak the human language. Ruff is ecstatic that he is finally able to communicate with the party. The human hackrobat also gives the party a Blue Fragment. The party leaves the Grotta del Sigillo to continue on their adventure.
- L’Arca - The town
- Grotta del Sigillo - The mountain upon which the hackrobat is sealed.
- Dock near L'Arca - Found only in the present. This harbour leads to the Palazzo di Bulgio
- Palazzo di Bulgio - Found only in the present. One of three mansions owned by Bulgio. Visiting them is required to free Sir Mervyn later in the game.
L'arca means "the ark" in Italian, referring to Noah's Ark in the Bible. According to the Bible, God gave Noah instructions seven days before a great flood which would cover the world to construct a vessel, the ark, and gather a pair of every living animal aboard to spare them and his family.