Hopefully, everyone can guess that I'm talking about Arkentools when they read the topic name. Don't ask me why I'm unwilling to change the name, but willing to rant about that fact here. Simple fact is I don't know why. Also don't know why I gave a preemptive answer to a question I've told everyone not to ask.
Lack of knowledge plays a big part in the story of Erfworld: Parson doesn't know alot of the mechanics of Erfworld. It's probable that only a few people know the truth about what happened to Saline IV. Charlie trys to keep almost all knowledge about himself hidden. In Book 1, Parson flat out questions how much the people of Erfworld know about its basic mechanics.
There are significant reasons to doubt that the more common units of a side have easy access to the knowledge of that side's workings.
I simply think that this lack of knowledge element also applies to the actual number of Arkentools. This number was given to us here as the number of known Arkentools.
That single word 'known' sets off all kinds of reader sense in my head. I think Rob was wording the Arkentool count weakly for a reason. Instead of simply saying "There are 4 Arkentools," a statement that leaves no margin for error, Rob has left open a door thru which much can pass. (Do those 4 count as known because they have been verified by a trustable source and there are other things out there that the people holding them claim to be an Arkentool, but are not allowing to be verified? Are they known because people are currently holding them and that others may have been lost on the battlefield or purposefully hidden in the past? Are they known because they are the only ones to have been discovered up to this point?)
While there may actually be only 4, I would like to speculate on what it would mean to the story if there were more.
First off, depending on the number of Arkentools, the whole 'Bring all the Arkentools together' storyline becomes much harder to achieve and may even become an impossible goal for the characters to ever be expected to accomplish. This could have a wide array of effects on the story depending on how it plays out.
If Parson was indeed summoned to bring all the Arkentools together, then the broadening of the Scope of the Arkentool mission means he has to do a whole lot more To accomplish that goal. Instead of simply having to defeat charlie to get his tool and finding a means to collect the other, Parson now has to garner an understanding of what the Arkentools actually are so he can get an understanding of what his goal actually is and then he has to figure out a seperate way to gather each individual Arkentool. (Or better yet, figure out a way to make all the Arkentools gravitate towards him.)
The discovery of additional Arkentools would also have an effect on everyone whose goal it is to bring them together. Let's say the Predictamancers want the Arkentools brought together because the Arkentools being brought together is the furthest out they can see, or that Janis wants it to happen because the world after that is meant to be harmony as it is written in the Scriptures. The increased difficulty of the task would cause everyone who previously had a plan that involved the Arkentools coming together would start having to make a new one while running headlong into the remains of all the old plans. Gambit pileup, anyone?
All in all, I think the discovery of more Arkentools would be an interesting direction to see the story go in. But that is just my opinion. Anyone else want to share their toughts?