The first involves a country that was going to appear towards the end of the 1st book. They're a nation of mercenaries. Sort of. Well, basically their entire "foreign trade" is down to hiring their armies to the highest bidder. This idea was come to through the fact that the United States actually made a profit after the first Gulf war - those nations that were either unable or unwilling to provide personnel to help with the war effort, provided remuneration to the United States. It turned out that the US got more money than they actually needed. This made me wonder what it would be like to have a nation whose business was mercenaries.
The other idea is all about the trade war. I'm still interested in making the large, all-powerful Amderlin declare war on the [as-yet-unnamed-smaller-nation-in-the-frigid-south], which would also introduce the above mercenary state. This would allow me to introduce the major players in the world, without having to rely on excessive exposition.
It's a pickle, but I shall figure things out.
Hopefully, I'll find some free time in the near future. The past 5 months have been all about getting 1st drafts of my PhD thesis in.
When will I have the time, nobody knows, but I shall make this happen.