One of the many joys of research is that no matter much of it you do, you always find another offshoot to go research.
Doing a bit of investigation to the histories of the areas surrounding my story’s hub country, and found a couple of useful pieces of information:
1) A well-known nomadic tribe to the west has a well-established branch in the city inspiring one of my hub country’s famous cities; and
2) The cities inspiring those in Book 2 were being fought over for many years around my story’s base timeframe.
The second point is exceptionally useful, as it is needed to decide the characteristics of some of my protagonists. The choices, though, are a bit tougher. Should the protagonists all get along famously, or have a bit of conflict going on between them? It’s probably only my almost-life-long watching of wrestling that has cememnted the ‘teams that don’t get along’ scenario to the point of cliche.
But if it’s a cliche that keeps the story interesting, I guess that makes the point a moot one. As long as there’s a significant history of conflict to draw from, it helps add strength to the story.