The Free States would work perfectly for what I have planned, though they won't have congealed. Rather, a war between the city-states is possible. You would be allied with one of the city-states. I would require you to make it your base of operations, something you'd like to see survive. While war is not eminent, folks are concerned and milita are mobilizing.
The origin of the seeds of war, the anger and distrust, are not apparent. There is no obvious provocation; no assassination, insult or tarriff raised. But you've been around enough to suspect there are other forces at work. Just remember your youth, when you saved the Duke! There are always forces in the shadows.
As paragons of the land, you have the opportunity to save countless lives or to wipe cities off the map. You'll get to decide how best to defend your home. You will face off against some of the most powerful arcane masters in the land, as well as demons, elementals, dragons, aberrations, giants and the like. As I said, there are powerful forces involved.