Vella is a young woman in a world ravaged by Mog Chothra—a giant creature that is subdued in each town with sacrificial offerings during the Maiden's Feast. Chosen by her village to be sacrificed, Vella believes that if they could kill Mog Chothra they could end these rituals. The idea is met with resistance by her own family, who cite the tradition—however morbid—as the only way of maintaining their peaceful way of life.
During the Maiden's Feast, she pleads with the four other maidens of Sugar Bunting to help her fight back. However, they're set on appealing to Mog Chothra, leaving Vella to use her own cunning and bravery to find a way to escape. As each maiden around her gets taken, she's able to wrangle a bird and cut herself loose.
She flies to the distant town of Meriloft, whose citizens live amongst the clouds as bird caretakers, and meets Twyla,a maiden who was left behind during her own Maiden's Feast.Twyla isn't interested in helping her defeat Mog Chothra, nor are the other villagers, and she sets on finding a way to the forest below and to the nearby town of Shellmound.
In the seaside village of Shellmound, she finds the townspeople making preparations for their impending Maiden's Feast. In the process of gaining entry she discovers the Dead Eye God 's temple, which turns out to be an ancient spaceship half-buried by the sand. She's able to wake the pilot from stasis, and he helps her rig the ship's scanning system as a weapon to attack Mog Chothra. Vella's plan works, and she is able to bring down Mog Chothra, only to discover that it is a giant mechanical creature housing a young man inside.Angered, she charges at Shay and tries to punch him, but misses and falls into the mouth of the broken machine. The mouth closes behind her, leaving her trapped inside while Shay is stuck outside.
- Vella's story is unique in that victims rarely, if ever, play an active role in combating the monster to which they are to be sacrificed.
- The passivity of the victims is played for laughs as Vella goes about her adventure.