It’s a temporary stat tracked by the player (usually using a dice with value face upward). It usually increases when a character generates aura ( leaves, trunk, roots) at the beginning of their turn. Characters past the second stage of temptation desire to release aura (spending essence to do so) at the beginning of each turn during a conflict.
The characters are awakened, not human. Malevolence is the major difference. As malevolence rises so does the character’s power and its feeling of indomitably violent confidence and its freedom from human guilt or revulsion.
It is important to note that even though the characters are inhumanly malevolent monsters they will still feel a wide range of other emotions, such as empathy, admiration, enjoyment, respect, sadness, sympathy, and despair. They are still people, just not… normal people.
Once the scene or combat is over Malevolence trickles away. For low amounts of malevolence and while the character is at a low temptation state this usually takes five to ten minutes. When malevolence and / or temptation state is high this can take much longer. Characters can try to ‘hold on’ to their malevolence with an act of will (spending will). Dying wipes all malevolence (and thus release levels) from the awakened’s vessel.