The Kharvic Empire fell 400 years ago. The explosive start to it’s decline was preceded by a slow death filled with political intrigue and a civil war so devastating that humanity still hasn’t recovered. Few kingdoms exist even now, and those that do are small, barely more than a man of no real consequence declaring himself “king” and bullying those around him to follow. Some outerlying city-states still exist, much as they did when the empire existed, their governing bodies more or less intact but now independent. Over the past few centuries many different things have kept these city-states from rallying or allying with one another: plagues, political differences, war, a rampaging dragon and distance to name a few.
You have adventured together for some time and are just now starting to come into your own. Your previous work has been strictly mercenary and done nothing to gain you any real enemies, though also no one whom you would call “ally,” either. You are still (relatively) clean slates. Blank metal to be forged by the world. Or to be used to forge it.