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Franchia

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Franchia is one of the strange countries that Cecil talks about visiting as he backpacked across 'Europe' during his college years in A Memory of Europe. Franchia is described as "a land of arches'. It's a country with no residents at all, with the possible exception of a great beast, just hundreds of square miles of ancient stone arches, interwined and leaning against each other, the wind hollowing through the narrow alleyways.

Cecil talks about having a lot of fun in Franchia and recalls the country fondly, when he would curl up in a blanket and look up at the stars "in a haze of cheap wine". However, eventually he became convinced that he wasn't alone in the labyrinth and that, somewhere, a beast was stalking him. He would stand still for hours, listening to the wind and searching for the sound of movement from it. He fled Franchia in the end, after a desperate search for the border, first coming across nothing but dead ends. He eventually did get out into the next country, the arches of Franchia stopping suddenly at the border. Cecil mentions feeling a single claw graze across his back and he felt, "the endless wind of Franchia turning hot and wet, the breath of the beast inches away from my neck".

"So visit Franchia, but, you know, watch out for the monster that I may or may not have only imagined."

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