Thank you to all for the helpful input. The reminders that this decision will have ramifications for the storyline were timely. I have not yet done the legwork to name existing cities let alone figure out the details of economic and social structures. There is however, a long history of mercenaries in this region, particularly heavy cavalry and missile troops to supplement the native ones.
So, still on their painting stick, the crossbow men of the Black Company. I'm sure we will discover more about them once the unit of knights has been added and some "historical" research has been done.
I had initially intended to paint them in toy style block and varnish with black (dark grey) surcoats but as I progressed I realized that they were wearing studded jacks so went for black leather with brownish overtones. The figures are small enough, with enough detail and undercuts to make a smooth block finish difficult. Luckily I remembered that the majority of the figures they are joining were done with overwashes so I proceeded to use the old techniques. Still a simple approach and I think they will blend in well.