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Linden Avery is a doctor who has moved to Covenant's hometown to take a position at the local hospital. Her traumatic childhood and rigorous medical training have left her emotionally isolated from other people. In her own way, she is as much an outsider in society as Covenant.
As a young girl, she was locked in a room with her father while he committed suicide. And as a teenager, she killed her mother, an act of euthanasia to which she felt compelled by her mother's illness and pain. Loathing death, Linden has become a doctor in a haunted attempt to erase her past.
Role in the Covenant SeriesEdit
The chief of staff at the hospital (who appeared briefly in the first Chronicles) asks her to check up on Covenant. Linden, reluctantly, drives to Covenant's house outside of town. On the way, she sees an elderly man in an ochre robe collapse by the side of the road. Using CPR, she revives him: he makes a number of cryptic pronouncements and walks off, telling her to "be true".
Confused and disturbed by this strange encounter, Linden continues on to Covenant's house. Although he initially brushes her off, she is persistent, and finds that Covenant's estranged wife has returned to him, but that she is under the influence of a cult of worshippers of Lord Foul, who has found a way to exert his influence in Covenant's world.
After Covenant is stabbed in the chest by one of Foul's dupes in the "real" world, he loses consciousness and hears a familiar voice: Lord Foul's. Taunting Covenant that there is "more despair bound up for you than your petty mortal heart can bear", Foul vows that he will have his final revenge on Covenant and the Land.
He awakes to find that both he and Linden have been transported to the Land - to Kevin's Watch, the mountain at the Land's south frontier where he was first summoned by Drool Rockworm ten years before. His wound has been healed - somehow Covenant was able to use the "wild magic" of his white gold ring, although he had no conscious control over the process. Descending from the Watch, he also finds that a terrible change has transpired: four thousand years have passed, the Earthpower is gone, or nearly gone, and the people of the Land are out of touch with what remains of it. The Land is afflicted with the Sunbane, a disruption of the physical order which alternately causes rain, desert, pestilence and unnatural fertility to wreak havoc on man, animals and nature.
The people of the Land have turned to human sacrifice as a means of harnessing the power of the Sunbane: shortly after their arrival, Covenant and Linden are taken prisoner and condemned to be "shed". They escape, but shortly thereafter Covenant is bitten by a monster. Linden, who has become imbued with a form of clairvoyance which allows her to perceive the fundamental nature of people and things in this world (which, with her medical training, she comes to think of as her "health-sense") is able to save Covenant from a life-threatening infection, but the venom from the bite leaves Covenant unable to control the destructive power of the wild magic. Stephen R. DonaldsonDespite these difficulties, Covenant and Linden Avery join with Sunder and Hollian, a man and woman of the Land, to travel to Revelstone to challenge the corrupt new rulers of the Land, the Clave. On the journey, Covenant enters the Andelainian Hills, a region of the land free of the Sunbane. There he meets with the Forestal Caer-Caveral (formerly Warmark Hile Troy) and the spirits of the long-dead characters of the First Chronicles, who provide him with rather cryptic advice concerning the plight of the Land. Saltheart Foamfollower gives Covenant something more: Vain, a creation of the ur-viles, who accompanies Covenant to Revelstone. (Linden, Sunder, and Hollian have already been captured by the Clave and imprisoned there.) Once there, Covenant agrees to undertake a "soothtell", a ritual of divination by blood. Before Covenant can defend himself the Clave's minions open his veins: this triggers the ritual. Covenant thus discovers that the cause of the current condition of the Land is the destruction of the Staff of Law, which he himself had wrought. Without the strength of the Staff to protect it, the Earthpower itself has been corrupted by Lord Foul; hence, the Sunbane.
Covenant also discovers that the leader of the Clave, the na-Mhoram, is a Raver, one of Lord Foul's immortal, incorporeal servants. As each new na-Mhoram succeeds the last, the Raver takes possession, ensuring that the Clave continues to maintain the Banefire which strengthens the Sunbane. The Banefire is fed by copious quantities of blood: among the victims held by the Clave for future sacrifice are a group of Haruchai, the descendants of the race which formerly served the Land as the Bloodguard. Covenant frees the Haruchai and his friends and retrieves the krill, an ancient and powerful sword forged in the days of the Old Lords, but, due to his power-madness combined with his blood loss, is unable to single-handedly battle the combined power of the Clave, and thus is forced to leave Revelstone.
Revelstone is located at the western limit of the Land; beyond is only mountainous wastes. Hence, Covenant and his companions set out east. Their journey is made perilous by the corruption of the Sunbane and the perversity of Sarangrave Flat, a marshy plain on the lower portion of the Land which has been inhabited for millennia by the "lurker", a mysterious and malevolent creature which is aroused by the presence of power. However, the party is preserved by Covenant's wild magic, Linden's health-sense, the Sunbane survival skills of Sunder and Hollian, and the physical prowess of the Haruchai.
As they approach the sea-coast at the eastern edge of the Land, the travellers encounter a party of Giants, of the same race as Foamfollower's long-dead people. Covenant, Avery, Vain, and four of the Haruchai take ship with the Giants in search of a solution to the matter of the Staff of Law, leaving Sunder and Hollian in the Land to try to gather resistance to the Clave in preparation for the final battle.
Following the vision he received from the Clave at Revelstone, Thomas Covenant has resolved to find a solution to the problem of the destruction of the Staff of Law, the result of which has been the corruption of the Land's natural beauty by the curse of the Sunbane. He is accompanied on his quest by Linden Avery, a physician from his own "real" world, and four Haruchai bodyguards. Their means of travel from the Land is a ship crewed by the Giants, a benevolent, seafaring people from a distant region of the Earth. The journey is made more difficult by Covenant's continuing relapses into sickness caused by the venomous bite of a Sunbane-spawned monster: the venom leaves Covenant prone to uncontrollable outbursts of power-madness, the wild magic unleashed by his white gold ring posing an imminent danger to those around him. Linden, who in this world is endowed with a kind of clairvoyance, is frustrated by her inability to help him.
From the Land, the Giant-ship sails to the home of the Elohim, a race of beings who are known to possess supreme wisdom. Linden perceives that the Elohim are in fact the embodiment of Earthpower, the mysterious energy which is the source of the beauty and magic found in this world. Despite their seeming omnipotence, the Elohim are bound by a strange code of behavior, and provide no direct help to the quest, other than showing the Giants the location of the One Tree, from which the Staff of Law was fashioned. This knowledge was hidden in Covenant's mind by the Forestal Caer-Caveral (Hile Troy), but Covenant lacked the means to reveal it. In the course of rendering this service, the Elohim cause Covenant to go into a catatonic state - "don't touch me" is all he can say.
Sailing the course which has been charted for them, the travelers find that one of the Elohim, named Findail, has joined them aboard the Giants' ship, for purposes which he declines to reveal. The questors are not pleased at this uninvited companion but are powerless to make him leave. After suffering severe damage in a storm, in which Findail refuses to help, the ship arrives at the port city of the Bhrathair, a militaristic - but also wealthy and civilized - people living at the edge of a great desert. The Bhrathair are ruled by the gaddhi, Rant Absolain, who rather coldly receives the quest's shore party, and it is discovered that the true ruler is the gaddhi's chief adviser, a wizard named Kasreyn of the Gyre. Kasreyn initially appears to be kindly disposed to the quest but is revealed to have ulterior motives.
The ship is repaired, but the ill will between the travelers and the gaddhi breaks out into overt violence. Two of the Haruchai guards lose their lives - one at the hands of a Sandgorgon, a monster indigenous to the desert, and one killed by a hustin, a semi-human creature of the gaddhi's guard. The feud was in fact the result of a manipulative ploy by Kasreyn. The wizard abducts Covenant, who is still in a catatonic state, and attempts to use his powers to compel Covenant to give up his ring. The remainder of the shore party is imprisoned in the dungeon. Using her power to invade Covenant's consciousness - which she had been loath to use because she abhors the idea of "possession" - Linden breaks Covenant's catatonia and thwarts Kasreyn's efforts to seize the ring. Covenant and the Haruchai fight their way to Kasreyn's laboratory, but discover that Kasreyn has a parasitic being, a croyel, living on his back and providing him with extended longevity, as well as immunity to physical attack. Findail destroys this croyel, killing Kasreyn and setting off a palace coup that leaves the port in a state of chaos.
The ship narrowly escapes, and further travel eventually brings the quest to the island where the One Tree is located. Brinn, Covenant's Haruchai bodyguard, sacrifices himself in a duel with the Tree's Guardian ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol (himself a figure from Haruchai mythology who represents their idea of the perfect warrior), and is then regenerated as the new Guardian and leads the party to the Tree itself.
When Covenant attempts to take a piece of the Tree using his power of wild magic, he is stopped by Cable Seadreamer, the mute giant. When Seadreamer makes the attempt himself, he is killed: he has disturbed the Worm of the World's End, which sleeps beneath the Tree and whose "aura" serves as a defense mechanism. This aura triggers Covenant's power to an exponential degree. As Covenant attempts to overwhelm the Worm with his power, Findail warns Linden that the Arch of Time cannot contain the struggle between the two powers and that the world will be destroyed if it continues.
Linden, much against her will, mentally reaches out to Covenant. Sharing his thoughts, she sees him open a passage back to the "real" world and attempts to return her to it. She senses, however, that in the "real" world Covenant's body is very weak (from the stab wound inflicted just before the summoning) and will die if he does not himself return. Unwilling to do this, Covenant draws Linden back through the rift between the worlds. With her help, he is able to contain his power, but at the price of the Isle of the One Tree sinking beneath the ocean as the earth heaves with the movements of the Worm of the World's End settling back from disturbance into slumber. Thus, the quest ends in failure.
Leaving the sunken island of the One Tree, the Giant ship Starfare's Gem sets course to return to the Land. In a dangerous region of the ocean known as the Soulbiter, the ship is blown off course into the far northern reaches of the Earth and becomes ice-bound. Realizing that the Land's need cannot wait for the spring melt, Thomas Covenant leaves the ship and strikes out south over the ice-scape, accompanied by Linden, Vain, Findail the Elohim, Cail of the Haruchai, and four Giants.
The party encounters many dangers on its journey but reconnoiters with Sunder and Hollian, the man and woman of the Land who Covenant left behind in order to attempt to gather resistance to the Clave, the corrupt rulers of the Land. They have little comfort to offer: the Clave has become so blood-hungry that entire villages have been completely emptied in order to sustain the Banefire, making the corruption of nature by the Sunbane worse than ever. Only the stalwart Haruchai, freed from the Clave's magical coercion, have rallied to the side of freedom.
Covenant and his companions nevertheless march on Revelstone, the mountain fortress of the Clave. Once there, Covenant stuns the others by summoning a Sandgorgon, the beast responsible for the deaths of two of his Haruchai companions in the previous book. The Sandgorgon, grateful to Covenant for having previously spared its life, breaches the outer defenses of the great Keep. After a tremendous struggle, Covenant and the Sandgorgon are able to destroy the Raver who leads the Clave, although at the price of the life of Grimmand Honninscrave, the valiant Giant captain of Starfare's Gem.
Mourning the loss of his friend and the deaths of many of the innocent denizens of Revelstone, Covenant is able to come to terms with his power-madness, through a process in which he mimics the Giantish caamora, a ritual of purification by fire. Using the Banefire and the wild magic of his white gold ring, he is able to negate the effect of the strange venom with which he has been infected. The process hurts Covenant but does not do him permanent injury. With the aid of the Sandgorgon, Linden and Covenant are able to extinguish the Banefire. The defeat of the Clave causes the corruption of the Sunbane to diminish but not to disappear.
Sending Cail and the Giant Mistweave to reconnoiter with Starfare's Gem at the eastern coast of the Land, and charging the remaining Haruchai to resume their Bloodguard forebears' role as the warders of Revelstone, Covenant and the rest of his party set out to challenge Lord Foul directly, in his lair in the depths of Mount Thunder. En route, Hollian and her unborn child die resisting an attack of a band of Sunbane-warped ur-viles. Sunder is left numb and wordless with grief: in Andelain the Forestal Caer-Caveral sacrifices his immortal life to re-unite Sunder with Hollian and the yet-to-be-born child and give them a second chance at life. In so doing, he breaks the Law of Life, which prevents the dead from intervening directly in the world of the living. Bereft of the Forestal's protection, Andelain begins to succumb to the Sunbane. Covenant leaves the young family in Andelain and continues his journey, accompanied by Linden, two Giants, Vain, and Findail.
At Mount Thunder, Covenant gives the white gold ring willingly to the Despiser, an action which was foretold by Lord Foul upon Covenant's initial return to the Land; Linden Avery refrains from preventing him from this action, despite her ability to do so. The Despiser then kills Covenant, and attempts to destroy the Arch of Time with the wild magic. However, Covenant's spirit blocks his assault: in a manner similar to the cleansing experience with the Banefire, the power of wild magic causes Covenant pain but does not harm him, and in fact makes him more powerful with each attack. (Covenant later explains, "Foul did the one thing I couldn't: he burned the venom away.") Covenant's ability to interfere in this manner is revealed as a consequence of the breaking of the Law of Life and a fulfillment of Lord Mhoram's prophecy ("You are the white gold"). Unable to comprehend this, Lord Foul continues to attack Covenant's spirit until he vanishes, drained of all his power. Linden Avery then takes the white gold ring, and uses it to bond Vain with Findail. Linden thus creates a new Staff of Law, combining the rigidness and structure of the ur-viles' lore with the pure and free Earthpower of the Elohim. Then, combining the new Staff with the power of the wild magic, she heals the Land of the Sunbane.
Giving the Staff to the Giants to take to Sunder and Hollian, Linden fades away. In the limbo between the worlds, Covenant speaks to her and explains how he defeated Foul and re-assures her that their love will transcend both time and death. Linden wakes up in the "real" world, finding Covenant dead, as expected, but takes comfort in the knowledge that through his love, she has redeemed both herself and the Land. At the very end of the book, Linden takes Covenant's white gold wedding ring.
Linden Avery is now in charge of a clinic for the mentally ill and is responsible, among other things, for caring for Joan Covenant. Roger, son of Thomas and Joan, comes to visit for the first time in many years and seeks to take Joan out of care, claiming that he wants to assume responsibility for the task himself. Roger also demands of Linden his late father's white gold wedding ring, which she does not relinquish. Linden remains suspicious of his intentions, but she is not able to prevent his forceful removal of Joan at gunpoint, and his abduction of Linden's adopted son, Jeremiah. Casualties mount as Joan is taken and — whilst attempting to intervene — Linden, Joan, Roger, and Jeremiah are plunged into the Land, where they must adjust to its new demands.
On return to the Land, she discovers that the people have no knowledge of the Earthpower she had so cherished before and this knowledge has been denied them by the blight on the land known as Kevin's Dirt. Also this ancient lore is kept from them by the Haruchai, who have now taken upon themselves total responsibility for the Land's defense, discouraging the learning of Earthpower and a knowledge of the Land's history. They have become the "Masters” of the Land. Also, the Land has been beset by caesures (or "Falls") which are strange disruptions created from wild magic by Joan in her madness.
Linden takes under her protection an enigmatic character called Anele, who turns out to have been the son of two people that Linden had known centuries before, which appears logically impossible. He is full of Earthpower, as a result of a pregnant Hollian (from the second chronicles) being brought back to life by Earthpower. Linden also finds an ally in a Stonedownor, Liand, who quickly comes to trust Linden implicitly when she introduces him to his past and the Land, showing him an expression of Earthpower beyond all his previous experience. The Masters threaten Anele (and indirectly, Linden) as she seeks to find ways of locating and rescuing her son, a quest she keeps to herself. When a strange storm attacks Liand's village, Mithil Stonedown, he and Linden and Anele take the opportunity to escape the Masters.
Their escape is compromised when Stave, another Master, catches up with them. Initially they believe he has come to recapture them, but he actually brings timely warning of a huge pack of wolves (kresh) that is pursuing them. They are rescued by a company of Ramen, the traditional servants of the Ranyhyn horses, who seem to have made an odd alliance with the ur-viles. They are then led to the Verge of Wandering — a valley the Ramen come to every couple of generations.
Here they meet Esmer, a powerful being who claims to be the son of Cail - an outcast Haruchai - and the mysterious Dancers of the Sea. Linden is unsure whether to treat Esmer as a friend or an enemy: He attacks and wounds Stave (as punishment for his ancestors' treatment of his father) but then proceeds to help Linden. He uses his strange powers to summon a caesure, allowing Linden and her companions to travel backwards in time to retrieve the lost Staff of Law.
They emerge from the caesure in a Land which is still recovering from the Sunbane. After some initial frustration, they find (with some dubious help from Esmer) that the Staff is guarded by a group of Waynhim who - not being creatures of Law - are slowly sickening from its influence. Linden uses the Staff to cure the Waynhim, but she and her companions are suddenly attacked by Demondim (who they suspect have been summoned from the past by the mischievous and unpredictable Esmer) wielding the power of the Illearth Stone.
Fearful that the coming battle will alter the Land's history, Linden creates a new caesure and returns herself, her companions, the ur-Viles, Waynhim, and Demondim to her own present. When they emerge, they find themselves in the neighborhood of Revelstone, which is now the stronghold of the Masters. The Haruchai attempt to fight the Demondim, but their efforts are wholly in vain. Stave is badly injured, and Linden and her companions are forced to retreat to Revelstone.
Here Linden meets "The Mahdoubt", a mysterious old woman who describes herself only as "a servant of Revelstone". As the company is enclosed in the Lord's Keep with their foes outside, they see a small group rapidly approaching: her son, Jeremiah, and Thomas Covenant, who has seemingly returned to life.
Linden Avery is determined to save her adopted son, Jeremiah, from the hands of the Despiser. However, before she begins her search, it appears that Jeremiah and Thomas Covenant have ridden into Revelstone, despite the voice of Thomas Covenant previously telling Linden to 'find me.' The behaviour and demeanour of her two loved ones arouse suspicion and doubt in Linden.
The Masters (haruchai) act as hosts whilst the group are in Revelstone. Avery seeks to wash away some of the effects of her adventures and "Kevin's Dirt" by bathing in the Earthpower-rich lake above Revelstone, called Glimmermere. It is there that the ever-conflicted Esmer informs Linden that she must be the "first to drink of the Earthblood".
Linden returns to Revelstone and accomplishes her immediate goal of cutting off the Demondim's access to a fragment of the Illearth Stone, but shortly afterward she is transported thousands of years into the Land's past by the forms of Thomas Covenant and Jeremiah. Covenant reveals to Linden that he and Jeremiah plan to partake of the Earthblood in an attempt to thwart the dire plans of both Lord Foul and Kastenessen, the renegade Elohim. However the trio soon encounter a mysterious and knowledgeable character dubbed "the Theomach", a puissant figure who is a member of a learned race known as the Insequent. Linden is informed that she must be careful not to upset the Law of Time whilst journeying through this age.
Linden and her companions encounter the Land's ancient hero, Berek Heartthew, the Lord-Fatherer, and his sorely depleted army. The Theomach guides Linden through this meeting, mindful that their presence in this time could have a profound effect on the Law of Time. It is during this meeting that the Theomach reveals the Seven Words of Power to Berek. The Insequent explains Avery's odd appearance and presence by dubbing her the first of the "Unfettered Ones", thus keeping the Law of Time intact. Berek senses Linden's White Gold ring, which turns out to be the Land's first encounter with the powerful alloy.
Linden, Covenant and Jeremiah depart Berek's camp, leaving the Theomach behind to fulfill his chosen role as Berek's guide.
Whilst Covenant and Jeremiah attempt to teleport the trio to Melenkurion Skyweir, the source of the Earthblood, Linden is separated from them, and finds herself lost amongst the ancient forest of Garroting Deep. Here she encounters an ancient race, the Viles.
Avery knows from her time in the Land that the Viles will be corrupted by Lord Foul's Ravers in the centuries to come; eventually they will spawn the Demondim, who in turn will spawn the Ur-Viles and Waynhim. During this encounter Linden risks the Law of Time by attempting to dissuade the Viles from their path of self-loathing, informing the Viles of the Raver's part in their corruption. However in the midst of her revelation, Covenant and Jeremiah contrive to instigate a confrontation between the Viles and Garroting Deep's puissant Forestal, Caerroil Wildwood. During ensuing battle, Linden is reunited with her two companions, who hasten her towards Melenkurion Skyweir.
The trio enter the caverns of Melenkurion Skyweir. Linden's doubts and misgivings concerning her companions reach a crescendo, and as the three approach the Earthblood, Linden resolves to partake of the powerful, wish-granting substance before Covenant or Jeremiah.
Once she has drunk of the Earthblood, Linden commands that the truth be shown concerning her companions. Instantly their true forms are revealed; Thomas Covenant's son Roger Covenant has been wearing the guise of his father, whilst Jeremiah is shown to be under the malign influence of a croyel. A raging battle takes place in the caverns of Melenkurion Skyweir, during which the ancient mountain is torn asunder. Roger Covenant and the croyel-driven Jeremiah eventually escape, leaving Linden in a state of despair. Half-catatonic, she eventually once again finds herself amongst the trees of Garroting Deep. Here Linden finds the Mahdoubt, another of the Insequent who had previously befriended her in Revelstone during her "proper" time. The Mahdoubt acts as Linden's liaison during a meeting with Caerroil Wildwood, at which point the Forestal bestows Linden with runes for her Staff of Law. After the gift of the runes is given, the Mahdoubt's facility with time-travel allows Linden to return to her proper time, where she is reunited with her friends.
When Linden recovers from her ordeal, her friends tell her that they have communicated with the voice of Thomas Covenant via Anele. They also tell her of a mysterious man who has rid Revelstone of the hoarding Demondim. Linden confronts the man, who turns out to be of the Insequent: the Harrow. He attempts to wrest Linden's White Gold ring and her Staff of Law from her, but the Mahdoubt intervenes and forces the Harrow's forbearance, at the cost of her sanity.
Linden eventually resolves to seek out Loric's krill, a powerful tool which will allow her to channel the power of her White Gold ring and the Staff of Law.
Accompanied by her friends and the Humbled - three self-maimed haruchai - Linden leads a quest to Andelain, the last known resting place of the krill. However the company is besieged when an army of Cavewights and kresh, led by Roger Covenant, attacks them along their way. Esmer materialises, as does the Harrow. The Ur-Viles which had served Linden during her search for the Staff of Law also join the fray. A mighty battle ensues, during which Linden summons the Sandgorgon Nom for aid. An army of Sandgorgons appears and enters the melee, turning the tide of battle in favour of Linden's company; Roger Covenant retreats, and the Harrow and Esmer vanish. The Sandgorgons, communicating telepathically with Stave of the haruchai, inform Linden that they consider their service to her to be over and they will no longer obey her summons.
Linden and company continue to the relatively new forest of Salva Gildenbourne, a wild, jungle-like expanse which surrounds Andelain. Here the threat of Kastenessen and his skurj becomes apparent; the company soon encounters one of the fiery serpent-like skurj, during which time Linden finds she is unable to channel sufficient power from the Staff of Law as a consequence of Kevin's Dirt. As the company struggle to give battle to the single skurj, Linden is attacked by a crazed Giant. The Giant is quickly subdued by a group of female Giant-warriors, who agree to join Linden's company on their journey to Andelain. Their leader explains to Linden that the actions of the crazed Giant, Longwrath (who is the grandson of Linden's old friend the First of the Search), has been the focus of her group's activities; they have pledged to discover the focus of Longwrath's madness, which seems to be Linden herself.
With Longwrath imprisoned by his fellow Giants, the company encounters Esmer, who warns them that Kastenessen, his grandsire, has sent a pack of skurj to thwart Linden's attempt to gain the krill. Making a desperate stand on the outskirts of Andelain, the company manages to hold off the skurj long enough to enter Andelain, a place into which the skurj seem unable to follow.
As Linden and her companions enter Andelain, the Wraiths guide her to the krill's resting place. Linden is beseeched by both the Harrow and Infelice of the Elohim to turn aside from her desires for both the powerful blade and her hidden intentions. The Harrow tells Linden that he knows where Lord Foul is keeping Jeremiah, and that he will trade the knowledge for the White Gold ring and the Staff of Law.
But Linden will not be turned aside, and as she approaches the krill, her Dead appear to her; Sunder, Hollian, Honninscrave, Cail, the Old Lords - but not Thomas Covenant himself. Yet the Dead refuse to give her counsel. Reaching the apex of her hidden intention, Linden summons the breakers of the Laws of Life and Death; Elena and Caer-Caveral. Through their presence the spirit of Thomas Covenant is invoked. Yet he too refuses to give her counsel; he cannot.
The Humbled attempt to intervene too, but Linden's friends win her freedom to choose by thwarting the Humbled's attempts. Finally Linden grasps the krill, and is exalted by a transcendent surge of power; she is now able to wield both wild magic and Earthpower combined; too much power for any one being without the krill's facility to channel such forces.
With her newly-acquired power, Linden enacts her secret desire and hidden intention; she resurrects Thomas Covenant, the only person she feels can help her in her quest to find Jeremiah and defeat the Despiser. But Thomas Covenant appears distraught at her actions; "Oh Linden, what have you done?" Infelice replies that with her conflagration of extreme power, Linden Avery has roused the Worm of the World's End, endangering the Arch of Time itself and all life in the Land.
After the resurrection of Thomas Covenant, Covenant's mind is fractured and often becomes lost among his vast memories of the Land's past acquired from Covenant's existence as the Timewarden. Linden Avery resolves to find Jeremiah before confronting the newly awakened Worm of the World's End, when The Harrow appears and claims that he can take her to her son. It is The Harrow's purpose to confront the Worm, for which he requires the Staff of Law and the white gold ring; he demands to borrow their use, in payment for which he offers to retrieve Jeremiah. The Ardent, a representative of The Insequent, arrives to ensure that The Harrow does not betray Linden Avery. Thomas Covenant, who must struggle with his memories, takes the Krill from its place in Andelain. However, his former wife Joan is able to attack Covenant with wild magic through the Krill. And without the Krill's protection, the Skurj and the Sandgorgons (now controlled by the Raver Samadhi Sheol) will lay waste to Andelain, and the surrounding Salva Gildenbourne. Ultimately, with assurances that The Ardent - and through him, the entire race of the Insequent - will ensure that The Harrow does not deal falsely, Linden agrees to the bargain, and surrenders the Staff and the ring. The Ardent is charged by his kindred to both constrain and assist The Harrow - which means that, by the innate law of the Insequent, his life is forfeit to failure as well.
The Harrow and The Ardent transport Linden and her companions to The Lost Deep, the ancient domain of the Viles, to find Jeremiah. There, at the great bridge the Viles called The Hazard, Anele becomes enraptured by the deep stone of the earth, and prophesies that the Worm will ultimately seek the EarthBlood as its final sustenance: when the Worm drinks the EarthBlood, the Arch of Time will fall. In witnessing this prophecy, The Ardent accomplishes one of his private goals; however, The Harrow fails to open the portal to the Lost Deep. Ultimately it is Linden, using the Staff, who is able to unweave the Vile magics due to the insight she gained from Caerroil Wildwood, and from her personal encounter with the Viles themselves in the Land's past. It is revealed that it was to steal this insight that motivated The Harrow's initial attempt to possess Linden, before he was denied by The Mahdoubt. By regaining the Staff, Linden also discovers that far beneath even the Lost Deep slumbers a powerful bane called 'She Who Must Not Be Named' - a tormented avatar of countless betrayed women throughout history, including Kastenessen's lover, and the banished wife of the Despiser, Diassomer Mininderain. Linden discovers that it is this bane which is the source of Kevin's Dirt. The bane slumbers, however, and without any conceivable means to oppose it, the party leave it sleeping, and enter the Lost Deep.
While Linden's companions are held enthralled by the wonders of the Viles' ancient abode, The Harrow leaves them to take Jeremiah for his own ambitious schemes. There, he confronts the croyel, which hides in one of Jeremiah's constructs, designed to conceal it from the Elohim (who had previously told Linden they were unable to free her son). Liand attacks it, and the croyel nearly kills him. The Harrow believes that due to this construct, the croyel will be unable to summon aid - meaning Roger (who was gifted one of the mad Elohim Kastenessen's hands, and therefore has some Elohim powers). However, the croyel surprises him by summoning skest instead, and the party are nearly overwhelmed. In desperation, Linden destroys the construct, which immediately allows Roger to transport himself to the fight, where he promptly murders The Harrow. Before Roger can claim the Staff and Ring, however, his father intervenes, battling against him with Loric's Krill. Through the Krill, Joan exerts her power to harm Covenant, and his hands are so badly burned that Linden is later forced to amputate his remaining fingertips. With Stave's aid against the croyel, Linden is able to combine forces with Covenant to force Roger to flee. At last Esmer arrives, with the Ur-viles and Waynhim, and prevents Roger from fleeing with Jeremiah. Covenant is able to capture the croyel using the Krill, and Esmer takes Roger and transports him away from the fight; he shortly returns with a group of Waynhim and ur-viles, who assist the party to escape.
The conflict of these forces awakens She Who Must Not Be Named. Linden and her companions follow the Ur-viles and Waynhim in seeking a way out, and rely heavily on the strength and endurance of Ironhand Coldspray and her Swordmainnir. By holding the croyel at bay with the threat of Loric's Krill - one of few weapons that can slay the monster - the party are able to bring Jeremiah and the croyel with them. The Skurj also arrive to worsen the situation. Exposed by her EarthSight more intimately to the bane's evil than the other party members - and being a more ready target due to her family history of abuse and despair - Linden's hope finally fails when the party is cornered, and she falls into a catatonic state, deeply traumatized. Covenant first tries to reason with She Who Must Not be Named, then tries to convince Esmer to reveal her true name which would release her. When Esmer refuses Covenant asks Anele to use Liand's orcrest stone to summon the spirits of his parents, Sunder and Hollian. They leave, however, and summon High Lord Elena's spirit as bait for She Who Must Not Be Named. This ploy succeeds at delaying She Who Must Not Be Named from attacking the group. As Elena is being consumed Covenant convinces Esmer to leave them, which allows the Ardent to transport the company away.
The Ardent transports the group to a location near Landsdrop. The Ardent can no longer assist them since he failed to protect The Harrow, and begins to madden and die, though through him the race of the Insequent announce that he has become the greatest among them. Somewhat later, as a final service to Linden, he transports the Cords to Revelstone, so that they might convince the Masters to march against the Sandgorgons and Skurj that are attacking the Upper Land. In the meantime, the party rest and recuperate from their narrow escape from death. Linden is recalled from her catatonic state by Covenant, but her yearning for his love is (from her point of view) spurned. She grows bitter towards him as a result, and refocuses herself on the plight of her son.
After a failed attempt by Linden to free Jeremiah from the croyel - during which the flames of Earthpower which she draws from the staff are tainted black, apparently permanently - the group are attacked by caesures, brought on by Joan's awareness of Linden's attempted use of wild magic. No less than six caesures assail the company, and in the chaos Anele touches the dirt and is possessed by Kastenessen; the mad Elohim immediately kills Liand in an effort to protect the croyel. After Linden quenches the caesures, the Giants and Stave construct a rocky cairn for the slain Stonedownor, whose lover Pahni is inconsolable. The devastated group is soon attacked again by Roger and an army of Cavewights. During the battle, Galt sacrifices himself to protect Anele, indicating an alteration in The Humbled's stance towards the menace of his Earthpower. Anele then uses Liand's Orcrest and sacrifices his life to both slay the croyel, and to transfer his innate Earthpower, and heritage as the "Last hope of the Land", into Jeremiah. During the battle, Esmer arrives in yet another attempt to betray Linden for Kastenessen, but is pursued by the ur-Viles, who at last reveal the purpose of the manacles they forged: they capture Esmer with them, restraining his power and freeing the wild magic to act. Infuriated by the loss of Anele and Galt, and exalted by the rescue of her son, Linden wields the white gold and utterly routs Roger and his Cavewights.
In the battle's aftermath, it is revealed that Jeremiah remains locked in his isolated mental state, and that Galt was actually Stave's son, though the two had become estranged by Stave's repudiation of The Masters. As for Esmer, the tormented half-Haruchai begs Linden for the release of death, but she cannot bring herself to do it, though the required weapon, Loric's Krill, is at hand. Stave sees this and kills Esmer as an act of mercy - upon both Esmer and Linden, so that she would not have to. Finally, through the offices of the Giants, whose gift of tongues is restored upon Esmer's death, Linden is finally able to communicate with the ur-Vile Loremaster, who she thanks and promises to give assistance to at some later time. The Demondim-spawn then depart.
Abruptly, Covenant leaves with the two remaining Humbled to confront Joan. Linden and her companions follow the Ranyhyn, trusting the wise horses to know best what they must do next to confront the Land's doom. They lead Linden to a quarry of bones named Muirwin Delenoth. The bones belonged to Quellvisks, an extinct race of monsters that Lord Foul created in an attempt to rouse the Worm by attacking the Elohim (this plot failed, and the Quellvisks were eradicated by the Elohim). Unprompted, Jeremiah begins building a construct with the Quellvisk bones, somehow using the ancient lost craft of anundivian yajna. The group are promptly targets for more than one foe: Joan begins assailing them with caesures, and shortly afterward Infelice appears and attempts to stop them. She hints that Jeremiah's construct will capture the Elohim, which she cannot permit. She describes his actions as "ruin incarnate". She also warns that Lord Foul's "deeper purpose" (which he hinted at when Linden was summoned in Runes of the Earth) is to use Jeremiah's power, after the fall of the Arch of Time, to create a prison for the Creator, allowing Foul to rule all universes. This, at last, is what has long been hinted at in references to "the shadow on the heart" of the Elohim: Infelice insists that Jeremiah's building must not be completed. In exchange for Linden stopping Jeremiah, Infelice offers a promise of the Elohim's protection for the boy, to ensure he does not fall back into the Despiser's hands. Linden refuses the bargain, and as a caesure attacks, Infelice binds Linden and Stave with enchantment, and moves to attack Jeremiah. However, Stave and Linden resist, and with the assistance of the Ranyhyn, Linden is able to throw Jeremiah's old toy race car (that Esmer had previously repaired) to her son, who uses it to complete his construct. Infelice vanishes, presumably ensnared by the construct, and Jeremiah is simultaneously freed from the prison of his mind. At last he and his mother share an embrace, and Linden is able to believe "that her rent heart might heal".