Path of Absolution

Yes, it will hurt. But the hurt you will suffer now is a hundred... nay, a thousand times better than the hurt you will suffer later if the Shadow within you grows.

Now, are you ready...?

The sight of a Pardoner on patrol is a source of relief to some, and horror to others. These Arts allow their users to halt a Shadow's progress, and stymie it in its attempts to dominate a Wraith's life. But they don't come cheap, and they tend to hurt - which might not be so bad if Wraiths didn't get the idea that the Pardoners were enjoying it, somehow...

With the exception of Purification, Wraiths cannot use these Arts on themselves.


** Penitence

Often times, a Castigator's charges are not willing to tell the entire truth about what they've been up to. Whether this is because they went against the Injunction, feel complicit in some crime or are deeply ashamed of something they did, or left undone, the Shadow can only benefit from their silence.

This Art turns the tables by making honesty a weapon against the Shadow. For every dark secret, sin or lapse of poor judgment the subject confesses to, and promises to make good on, the Shadow loses any Tainted Essence it had gathered from that particular failing.

Such is the power of the Art that, even if the Shadow hadn't gotten Tainted Essence from a confessed-to sin, if the Wraith makes the promised amends, Tainted Essence is lost. {However, if the Wraith breaks her promise, the Tainted Essence is regained with interest.}


*** Pardoning

More drastic than the gentle Art of Penitence, this technique - considered the signature Art of the Pardoners - allows a Wraith to bubble, boil and burn the Tainted Essence right out of a Wraith. The pain and damage are in equal measure for the amount of Tainted Essence removed, but if it's that or letting the Shadow run free over them, many Wraiths are more than willing to take the pain.

The manner in which Pardoning is done is up to the Wraith doing it. Some prefer to lay on hands or pray with the subject, while others seek to scourge or beat her. The results are exactly the same.

During the process, the Tainted Essence is leeched from the subject and harvested by the Castigator. This goes into a "Shadow pool," equal to her overall pool of Essence, and is stored there - safe from her Shadow - for a day and a night. The Wraith must somehow get rid of that Tainted Essence during that time, for if she does not it will start to bubble out, with one dot per hour escaping from the Shadow Pool and sliding to her Shadow.


**** Purging

One of the more advanced forms of therapy a Pardoner can deliver, Purging lets the Wraith take hold of another's Shadow and make it cease and desist all tricks and lies that are known to the Pardoner. This can also bring a Wraith out of Catharsis or a Harrowing, smack the Lost back to their senses, and even jerk a Wraith out of Shadowstate.

However, the Pardoner has to know exactly what is going on. It is not merely enough to know that a Wraith's Shadow is using a Thorn: she has to know which Thorn, and what it's being used to show - something that Dark Mirror won't divulge. Gaining this knowledge requires a Pardoner to do a lot of investigation into her charge, which is not a thing that your average Pardoner has the time to do.

It's also a dangerous thing to interrupt a Shadow when it's engaged in one of its tricks. Purging risks the absorption of the Tainted Essence thusly disrupted, just as though the Pardoner had used Pardoning on the Wraith. And as with Pardoning, the Tainted Essence goes into the Shadow Pool, and stays there for only a day and a night before seeping out.


***** Purification

The Pardoners believe that the only difference between Essence and Tainted Essence is that the latter is just as described: tainted. It is possible to remove that taint, and change negative energy to positive, using the soul as a crucible. However, it is not a gentle thing - half of the energy is always lost in the transfer, and the crucible burns so hot as to make the Wraith catch fire in the process.

The Wraith must spend Essence and Willpower to spark this change. She can take Tainted Essence from either her Shadow's own store, or her Shadow Pool, but not both. She can also choose how many dots of Tainted Essence she wants to risk changing over.

The first success transforms one Tainted Essence to one Essence. Every other success after the first adds another Essence to her pool. However, the second success causes a level of Lethal damage, as does every other success after that, due to the power caused by the change.

Example: Brother Addition decides to try and change five Tainted Essence from his Shadow Pool, and rolls. He gets six successes, which means he converts three Tainted Essence {the 1st, 3rd and 5th successes} and takes two Lethal damage {the 2nd and 4th successes}. The 6th success is wasted, since he didn't "wager" enough Tainted Essence.