And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me,
and I did eat.

Genesis 3:13

All Wraiths are capable of making a faustian bargain with their Shadows: asking their darker halves to allow them use {if not exact control} of the same powers - or variants thereof - that the Shadows, in turn, use against them. This might not seem to be that great of a bargain, especially when one considers the cost, but there are times when having that little extra trick up one's sleeve can make all the difference in the world.

If the Shadow agrees, then it and the Wraith enter "Shadowstate," whereby the Wraith brings her Shadow up to the fore and uses some of its powers as she will. And doing this not only makes the Wraith look the worse for it, as the Thorns' symptoms will appear, but it also strengthens the Shadow each time these dark powers are used.

Pardoners often warn their flocks not to engage in Shadowstate all that often. But the fact that Pardoners, themselves, seem to use it quite often tends to take the bite out of such prohibitions. And their claims that they can handle it - thanks to their own, unique skills - sounds an awful lot like a two pack a day parent lecturing their children about not smoking.


Starting Downwards

To enter Shadowstate, all the Wraith has to do is either ask the Shadow for its "help," or agree to the Shadow's offering of the same. This is not a sure-fire thing, though: just because the Shadow offers doesn't mean the Wraith has to agree, and just because the Wraith asks doesn't mean the Shadow has to relent. Either side can withhold cooperation altogether, and try to use it as a bargaining chip, and in fact most smart Shadows do.

Such Shadows demand that theWraith agree to certain terms in exchange for the service. Often times, they will ask for things to be done while in this particular Shadowstate, but others are willing to leave a debt hanging, and expect it to be handled in the meantime. And if the Wraith doesn't follow through, then the Shadow might just leave the Wraith to her own, hobbled devices the next time she needs Its aid. {It might arrange for some very bad things to happen, too, just to teach that creep who's the boss}

"And What Thorns Would Madame Care For...?"

Wraiths don't tend to know what their Shadows can do, and their Shadows don't like to admit it, for obvious reasons. While there's something to be said about letting your Wraith know you can mess with their eyes, as it has them running around in circles wondering if they can trust anything they see, they may also learn to be wary, and tell their Pardoner if they suspect anything odd. And that just won't do.

That's why crafty Shadows tend to couch their offers of aid in as bland or cautious of terms as possible, and don't give their Wraiths direct control over the Thorns at all. They don't tend to say "Hey, I can make all those guys over there see, or not see, any one thing I choose, which includes you," but instead "I can blind them for you," or, better yet, "I can distract them."

All the Wraith has to do, then, is 'point and shoot,' while the Shadow handles the small details, and relishes a measure of Tainted Essence for its pains. In fact, it's a lot like using a handgun: you don't have to understand how it all works to know that if it's loaded, and you aim it correctly, pulling the trigger hurts someone.

That the gun, in this case, also aims a spiritual bullet back at the user's soul is a point that all to often falls on deaf ears...


Shadowstate Mechanics

No roll is needed to enter Shadowstate. All that is required is the comittment of both parties - usually - and Shadowstate begins. It then lasts for the entirety of a Scene, or until the Shadow decides to pull out.
When in Shadowstate, the Wraith's appearance will change to reflect the Thorns she has, even if the Thorns aren't all being used at the time. Whether the change is gross or subtle depends on the Thorn in question, but all modifiers are in effect. This exhibition cannot be covered up at all, and has the unfortunate side-effect of making the Wraith appear to be Lost, or possibly even Damned if the Thorns are bad enough.

For each dot of Angst the Shadow has, one Thorn can be committed to the Wraith's benefit for the duration of the Scene. If the Wraith only has one dot of Angst, the Shadow usually prefers to use the Heart's Thorn. That doesn't mean the Wraith can't ask to have another one used, or that the Shadow can't suggest another.
Usually, a Shadow's use of Thorns requires the expenditure of Tainted Essence. However, each time a Thorn is used in Shadowstate, one Tainted Essence is gained, regardless as to whether the roll to activate it is a success or not. In addition, if that roll is an Exceptional Success, then one Tainted Essence is gained for each success past the first.

While in Shadowstate, a Shadow cannot use its Thorns against the Wraith, and cannot attempt Dissolution or a Harrowing until Shadowstate ends. It can, however, attempt Catharsis, and does so as though its Angst were 3 higher than normal. It can only attempt to do this once per Shadowstate, no matter how many Scenes it is extended for.

Any Extended Thorns are still in effect, but the Shadow cannot alter them in any way: if the circumstances change, and the Wraith figures out that something is just not right, then too bad for the Shadow. {However, with all else that's going on, it's not very likely that your average Wraith is going to have the time to figure that out.}

Shadowstate is supposed to last for a Scene, but it can be extended out, one new Scene at a time. As before, this has to be agreed upon by both the Wraith and her Shadow. However, unlike the first Scene, this extension gives the Shadow one Tainted Essence per extra Scene agreed to.

Also note that, as previously mentioned, the Shadow can stop the Shadowstate any time it cares to. This is most often done if the Wraith reneges on her promises, but sometimes Shadows just like to see their "better" halves squirm under extreme duress, or see a golden opportunity to have them done away with once and for all. Crafty Shadows claim there was some kind of outside interference - and sometimes they're not lying, either...