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Overview Disclaimer

  • If I were to properly rewrite the story, I’d change names like “Benja” and “Druun”. However, to prevent needless confusion, I’ll leave the names as they are. Just imagine that the names feel a bit more cultural/mythical!
  • Also, I’m solo-writing from a Malaysian context. So without a full team of experts (or just locals, really), it’s going to lack a lot of cultural influences from the other SEA countries. But I think for a rough sketch, it’s enough to get a general picture. The objective is not so much on cultural accuracy (though I’ve added some easy wins), but on the narrative throughline.

RAYA E1 - Kumandra

Episode 1 - Kumandra Divided

Theme: The untrusting world of Kumandra - Past, Present, Future

Narrative sequence vs chronological sequence

  • The X-Men Days of Future Past movie alternates between the characters/plot in the past (1980’s) and the dystopian future (2100’s), so that one time continuity is actively changing the outcome of the other time continuity — the two continuities are happening in parallel
    • That’s one aspect of the storytelling effect I want to have with this cutting-back-and-forth style of Episode 1
  • The present-day Kumandra is so bleak — and in a sense, the past events already happened and caused the fallout
    • We slowly reveal the extent of the fallout according to past events
  • And yet, during the scenes set in the past, it’s almost as if the fallout could’ve been prevented, especially as present-continuity-Raya exhibits the distrust that saves her in the present, and it would’ve saved her in the past
    • It’s revealed at one point in the episode that present!Raya’s sword was originally her father’s, narratively while her father was still championing his cooperation ideals (as shown in the past). This causes the audience to wonder — what happened in between?
    • Present!Raya says she was betrayed, narratively sequenced in the episode for the audience, before past-Raya got betrayed
    • It’s mentioned in the present that Heart is in ruins, and that’s narratively arranged right before Namaari’s betrayal in the past


I was quite particular on the consistency of naming. I’m going to stick to the original names where applicable in this rewrite for clarity. Ideally there’s more subtextual language distinctives between tribes.

Skip the Prologue

  • So, let’s rework the opening voiceover narration scene. Besides, Raya had no one to explain Kumandra to.
  • There are two “backstories” to exposition-dump.
  1. 500 years ago: Dragons defeating the Druun,
  2. “6” years ago: Druun returning with the separated shattered Gem
    • (Let’s dub this, “The Shattering”)
    • btw, retconning this to be 15 years instead of 6 years for the effects of the division to be more ingrained into the new culture
  • There’s just so much exposition to cover. But I think that the 500 years ago story is not as personal nor action-packed as opening straight away in media res.
  • “The Shattering” is just much more personal to the main characters, this is our media res.
  • Kumandra’s 500 years ago, can feed in MUCH later.

Hook: Can we trust other tribes?

Present: Establishing current-day/setting and the main character’s overarching goals

|250 |250 |250|250 |250


  • Establishing shots of Tail: it’s a southeastern wasteland. Not a typical American/African desert, but instead we have limestone cliffs, canyons and caves. The terrain is hilly, and the soil is caked, hard from the heat. The sparse and small vegetation all yellow up from dehydration. Small rats and lizards scuttle for cover from the heat of noonday.
    • Chyron: TAIL - CURRENT DAY
  • We have a masked lone adult rider, on an animal mount. Very quickly, let’s change Tuk-Tuk to be some panda-pangolin hybrid. A Pandolin.
  • She holds up a Map. X-marks litter the landscape. The camera focuses on a drawing of the complete Dragon Gem, circled and in the center of drawn pointed arrows.
    • This woman really wants this Gem.

Past: Establishing young Raya


  • It’s bright and colourful, in contrast to the pale and lifeless Tail.
  • We introduce young Raya, in full stealth/combat gear. She also has a drawing of the mythical Dragon Gem, annotated with arrows in the same handwriting.
  • In a tunnel of sorts, she bypasses traps by identifying and working around rigged false-hopes and paths — with the help of her then-smaller mount, Tuk-Tuk.


  • She enters the Chamber of the Dragon Gem, guarded by a silhouetted guardian.
    • There is a glowing blue Gem on a pedestal in the center of the room, the same one as earlier pictured in the Map in the first scene in the present-day.
    • The guardian calls Raya by name (establishing her name to the audience), and announces that he won’t let her step one foot into the inner circle platform where the Gem is.
    • The guardian never unsheathes his sword — we’re saving epic reveal for later.
  • They fight it out
    • Raya addresses the guardian as “Chief Benja” of the Heart tribe
  • Chief Benja would taunt Raya by saying aloud his moves ahead of time. Raya says she doesn’t trust him, moving in contrary. But Chief Benja always tells the truth, which causes Raya to fail her blocks and attacks.
  • Ultimately, Benja disarms her. However, Raya had actually won: she had one toe on the inner circle platform.
    • Chief Benja congratulates his daughter, revealing to the audience that he is her father who is training her.
  • Benja awards Raya’s success by promoting her to Guardian of the Dragon Gem, as her ancestors before her.
  • This original sequence was quite fun, especially the reveal that the masked guardian is her father, and then that Raya beats him and gets promoted. No critique here.
Anyone hoping to steal the dragon gem now has to face the fury of the TWO baddest blades in all the lands.

I'm glad you feel prepared, dewdrop, because the other lands... they're on their way here as we speak.

They are?! Right NOW?!

Yes. And we must prepare to meet them.
  • We end the scene ambiguously there, as if the other lands are about to lay siege just as they finished their training. And jump straight to:

Present: Raya’s current goal, ready to fight


  • It’s approaching sundown.
  • The rider sees a purple energy glow just behind a nearby hill. She quickly veers in the opposite direction.
  • The rider then spots a small camp of wasteland nomads.
    • The camp is built on top of a small, pitiful water stream.
  • The rider pulls down her face mask, and it’s obviously adult Raya!
  • Raya glances at her map. She points at her current location via a nearby landmark, and finds that the camp’s location is over a circled river that is not checked off yet.
  • The rider dismounts, slouching bent-over and dragging her steps, her mount the same.
  • She approaches the camp, but a few figures notice her, and run out towards her.
    • She checks her sidearm — yes, Chief Benja’s whip-sword is there and ready.

Kumandra party

Past: Benja’s party


  • With Benja’s trailing sentence, “We must prepare to meet them. Are you ready to face the other lands”…
  • Raya introduces the lands, with flashcard-style overlays for each
    • “We’re from the tribe of Heart. Our rainforest rains all the time, which makes us the best for defending the Dragon Gem against the Druun.”
    • “The tribe of Tail. A vast expanse of limestone islands, made up of a wide network of villages of skilled navigators and infiltrators.”
    • “Then, Talon. A floating market famous for fast deals and fighters, with even faster hands.”
    • “Next, Spine. A frigid, bamboo mountain guarded by exceptionally fierce warriors and impenetrable fortress.”
    • “Finally, Fang, our most cunning enemy. An advanced city of scholars and builders, making their assassins frighteningly intelligent and sneaky.”
  • Raya, “And we’re going to use our secret weapon to defeat them, once-and-for-all, right?”
    • “That’s right, dewdrop.” Benja turns to a table as he constructs a stew: “Shrimp paste from Tail, palm sugar from Talon, bamboo shoots from Spine, chilis from Fang, and lemongrass from Heart… my secret weapon is a Kumandra feast.”
  • Raya is perplexed?? “Are we poisoning them?”
    • “No tribe can survive alone anymore. This is the first step to unite the five lands in the line of ten chiefs, since The Great Division.”
  • “But dad, what about all my training to become Guardian of the Dragon Gem? Who are we guarding against? Not the Druun, since they’ve been gone for centuries.”
    • Benja: “While we want to do the right thing, we can’t be sure that the other tribes might try something selfish. They think the Gem magically grants us prosperity.”
  • “That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t do that… does it?”
    • “They assume it does, just like we assume things about them. (offers a bowl of soup) Raya, there’s a reason why each land is named after a part of the dragon. We were once unified harmoniously as one. Kumandra.”
  • “That’s ancient history, bà.”
    • “But it doesn’t have to be. Listen, if we don’t stop and learn to trust one another again, it’s only a matter of time before we tear each other apart before the actual Druun monsters do. This isn’t the world I want you to live in.”
  • Raya nods.
    • Benja: “I believe that we can be One Kumandra again. Even if I have my second baddest blade in the land to offer a bit of wise precaution… someone has to take the first step. Trust me.”

Present: Tail trusts no one


  • Three people from the camp arrive to meet Raya
    • They are armed with a spear and shield
    • They are in a poised stance, wary of this stranger and her huge mount
    • These are the Tail nomads.
  • “State your business!” the middle one exclaims. She’s holding a lantern; it’s getting dark.
    • Raya: “S’lam. I am Rahmidah, daughter of Hazim, tribe of Tail. We fled here after my village was destroyed by the Druun… I know we don’t trust each other, but I just need to set up camp for the night.”
    • The nomad is suspicious. “I’ve never heard of the family name ‘Hazim’. Besides, you’re at the far end of Tail, why aren’t you heading towards the other tribes? Fang has their intricate aqueducts, Spine has their mighty fortress, Talon has their busy floating market. You’d be better off even in Heart than here in this dried-up forsaken land of Tail.”
    • “Tail is supposed to be the one tribe that help their own tribe people.”
    • “Our own brother stole all our family wealth, and ran away to Talon. You talk about One-Kumandra? Hah!”
  • Raya: “I will set up camp there by that rock. It’s 200 cubits away from your camp.”
    • “You are too close to our river. We don’t trust you. Leave us, or we will attack.”
  • “I will fight to make camp. But let’s both agree that fighting would cost us both resources that we don’t have. I don’t even want to camp so close to you, I don’t trust you either. So I’ll be gone in the morning. Take these lemongrass herbs as a gift of peace. Or rather, a gift of non-aggression.”
    • They whisper amongst themselves, “Lemongrass! They’re so rare since Heart…”
  • The nomads warily take the lemongrass and back off, returning to their own camp, very on edge. “Don’t come near us, we won’t come near you.”

Past: Cultural exchange


  • Benja and Raya stand on the end of the main bridge leading into Heart. Four distinct factions stand arranged before them. Benja welcomes them.
    • Tail Chief: Nice speech, Chief Benja, but why’d you really bring us here? Are you gonna rob us?
    • Spine Chief: Why would he need to rob us? The land of Heart already has everything.
    • Dang Hai (Talon Chief): And what is there to rob? Even our rivers are drying up! (remember this)
    • Virana (Fang chief): It’s easy to champion “Kumandra” when you hold the mightiest weapon in all the lands.
    • Everyone argues.
  • Raya steps forward towards the only other kid in the rowdy pack
    • The kid steps forward from behind a woman. “S’lam. I’m Namaari. Daughter of the chieftess of Fang.”
    • They quickly fangirl together and connect over Naamari’s dragon pendant.
    • “Do you want to come eat my dad’s Kumandra stew?”
    • They go in together
    • The adults see this, lower their defences, and the chiefs decide to cross over too.


  • Later in the palace courtroom: it’s crowded but no one is mixing around.
  • On Young Raya and Namaari:
    • they chatter about their shared princess-ship.
    • Namaari takes a huge bite of the stew: she groans in delight
    • we see a bit of Naamari’s Fang-natural intelligence and sharpness
    • Naamari admits this is her first time having such a stew with so many different ingredients. Raya says she has this every day.
      • Namaari explains that while Heart still trades with other tribes, but the other tribes don’t really mix around
      • It’s not just stew, it’s the technology, the architecture, the knowledge. Just look at Tail, they’re still so backwards.
      • Raya exclaims! “That’s why Heart seems so prosperous compared to the other tribes: it’s not that the Gem gives some magic favour to Heart, but it’s that Heart trusts the other tribes.”
  • Namaari then brings up they’re both Sisu fans
    • Naamari: You know, Fang legend says she’s still out there. I’m not supposed to show you this, but…
    • Naamari pulls out a Scroll that she says she’s not supposed to show
    • (It’s the same scroll that adult Raya is using as her Map!)


  • Namaari is the one to retell the legend, much later in the story (but not earlier than it needs to), as it comes to life stylistically in Southeast Asian-inspired puppetry:
    • Kumandra used to be lush when humans lived harmoniously alongside dragons - magical creatures who brought us water and rain and peace.
    • Then, the Druun monsters attacked: multiplying as they consumed life and turned everyone they touched into stone.
    • The dragons fought for us but lost.
    • Finally, 500 years ago, the mighty Sisudatu, the last dragon, concentrated all her magic into a gem and defeated the Druun.
      • Everyone that was turned to stone came back… except the dragons.
      • All that was left of Sisu was her gem.
    • Instead of uniting humanity, people fought to possess the last of dragon magic.
    • Borders were drawn. Kumandra divided. We all became enemies.
    • The Gem was secured by Heart for the past 350 years, and they prospered.


  • Namaari expresses, “Though the Druun are no more, yet all Kumandra isn’t sharing the Gem like it was way before. It’s paradise for Heart, but not for us other tribes. Not that the Gem is magical, but sharing the Gem together is the first step in being united in recognition of what Sisu has done, equally for every person in every tribe. That’s what Sisu would have wanted.”
  • Raya points out on the scroll, that Sisu sleeps dormant at a river’s end.
    • Naamari says, if they could ever track down every river, they could bring back Sisu, and reunite Kumandra.
    • Raya looks at her dad, who’s juggling conversations from different tribes. Yes, this is what he’d want, no permission needed.
  • Namaari offers Raya her dragon pendant necklace.
    • It’s from a part of Naamari’s mother’s (chieftess) trishula-sceptre.
  • Raya says, “One day, we’ll track down Sisu together. But I know what we can do today. Follow me.”

Present: Raya lies to find Sisu


  • Raya leaves Tuk-tuk and her supplies back in her own camp, and stealthily creeps towards the outskirts of the nomad camp


  • She expects guards at every corner — none. She easily slips through their camp.


  • She slips into a cavern where the stream ends
  • She doesn’t waste any time. She does a whole ritual.
    • “Sisudatu… I don’t know if you’re listening. I’m searching every river to find you. I really need your help. I made a mistake. I trusted someone I shouldn’t have.”
    • Raya sits. And waits. And waits. Nothing happens. It’s a bust.
  • “So did I.” The nomad leader appears behind her. “Your name is Raya.”
    • The other nomads hold up Raya’s supplies, and have Tuk-tuk guarded at spear-point. They had raided Raya’s camp.
    • The nomad leader continues, “Daughter of Benja. Tribe of Heart. Or what’s left of it.”

Betrayal causes Druun

Past: Raya vs. Naamari


  • Young Raya and Naamari enter the Chamber of the Dragon Gem.
  • Namaari is awed. “Thank you for sharing the Gem with me.”
    • “It’s what Sisu would have wanted.”
  • Suddenly, Naamari strikes out at Raya.
    • Raya dodges, but a branch scratches her bare calf.
    • Naamari smirks, “Padipepper brambles. Makes your muscles sleepy. 100% organic Fang produce.”
  • Raya limps. “What are you doing?”
    • “I’m doing what’s right for Fang.”
  • They take out their weapons and fight viciously.
  • Raya does get the upper hand, even with her growing cripple, and knocks Naamari backwards.
  • Naamari just smirks and shoots a whistling firework through the ceiling opening.


  • At the palace, Benja is diplomat-ing with Virana.
    • “Chieftess Virana! I hope our daughters’ newfound friendship will foster a special bond between Heart and Fang.”
  • Through a window, the firework explodes and illuminates the night sky.
    • A line of torches head into the mountain of the Chamber.
  • Benja turns back, and Virana slips out. The other tribes start to catch on.

Present: Confrontation


  • Raya: “You already planned to raid my camp while I was asleep.”
    • Nomad: “And you already planned to sneak into our precious river.”
  • “Look, I just wanted to find Sisu from the myths, and you wouldn’t have let me near your river stream. She’s not here, I’ve done no harm, so I will leave your family alone and be on my way.”
    • The nomad leader blocks her with a spear.
    • “Not so fast. You think we’ll just let you go? You lied to us. We’re taking your jade pieces, and your animal mount…”
    • A nomad interrupts: “And her father’s chain-whip-sword-weapon-thing! It’s so epic!”
    • The leader, “…and your Dragon Gem piece, please. And then you’ll be on your way. You can take back your lemongrass too, it tastes nothing like they said.”
  • Raya: “But you’ve never seen lemongrass before, you wouldn’t be able to tell if it were actually padipepper?”
    • The nomads start to droop their limbs. Raya smirks. One by one, they all collapse. They mumble, “You binturi…”
  • A small crack forms in the ground…

Past: Druun unleashed


  • Young Raya and Namaari continue fighting, but Fang soldiers enter the room.
    • Raya backs up against the inner circle platform, ready to fight to the death with her newfound anger.
  • SWOOSH! Benja repels into the room, dispatching a dozen different adversaries in a short fight sequence.
    • His sword turns into a cool grappling whip which he uses to drive everyone back.
    • This is the same whip-sword that adult Raya has.
    • “You will not set foot on the Dragon Gem’s inner circle.”
  • The soldiers of the other tribes file into the room, in awe of the Gem.
    • “Fang’s making a play for the Gem!”
    • “We should take it for Spine, now!”
    • Everyone readies their weapons.
    • Benja readies too, but sees young Raya in the reflection of his sword…
  • Benja announces, “We have a choice. We can tear each other apart, or we can come together and build a better world. It’s not too late. I still believe we can be One-Kumandra again.”
  • Benja unsheathes his sword. “Shall we return to dinner?”
    • Tension fills the air. Eyes dart around, who’s making the first move?
  • An crossbow points at Benja’s heart.
    • He deflects it — it lands in his leg. He crumples.
    • “Bà!” Raya cries.
    • Everyone rushes past them into the Circle.
  • Hands grope at the Gem, until…
    • The Gem crashes onto the ground, breaking into five pieces.
    • BOOM! The ground shakes, the water in the chamber recedes, the floor opens up.
    • From the broken cracked Earth, a purple evil Druun monster emerges.
    • Benja: “Druun…”
  • A soldier rushes in towards the Druun, slashing at it:
    • the blade makes but a small wound in the semi-permeable creature
  • The Druun engulfs the soldier
    • turning him into stone
    • and mitosis-duplicating
  • It takes 3-4 more tough warriors to fell the original Druun,
    • but by then, they all turned to stone, and add 3-4 more Druun
  • A Druun rushes towards Benja and Raya
    • Benja rushes towards a Gem piece and holds it up
    • it repels the Druun
    • “There’s still magic in them!”
    • A mad scramble ensues as each tribe is snatches up a Gem piece for themselves
  • A Druun pursues, but is recoiled by a water stream
    • Benja shouts: “Everyone to the river!”
  • In the cave, the waterfalls start to dry up…

Present: Druun unleashed pt. 2


  • Raya collects her items back from each disabled nomad, packing them and readying to leave. “You’ll be back to normal by sunrise. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
    • The nomads try to chase after her, but they are lethargic, zombie-like.


  • She exits the cavern and climbs up onto Tuk-tuk, surveying the map…
  • Suddenly, a purple tendril breaks out from the ground and wraps around her foot. A Druun.
  • Raya swings her whip-sword, the blade now glowing and infused with Heart’s Gem shard. It effortlessly tears through the Druun, compared to the ineffective simple weapons before.
  • She fights a few more, easily with the Gem-fused weapon.
    • Tuk-Tuk kicks some butt too — he’s a steady tank.
  • There are some purple glows that come out from the cavern: glows that meant someone was being petrified.

Past: Sacrifice


  • Heart is plunged into chaos
  • People flee out of the city via the main bridge
  • Benja is very injured
    • The road ahead is too far
    • The bridge shakes and partially crumbles
    • A Druun approaches
  • Benja hands his Gem shard to Raya. “Raya, don’t give up on them. Make things right for Heart. I love you, my dewdrop.”
  • Benja throws Raya off the bridge into the water with his Gem Piece and whip-sword
    • A Druun passes through Benja, turning him to stone
    • A current carries young screaming Raya away to safety…

Present: Just another Tuesday


  • The Druun retreat from Raya, back into the ground.
  • Raya rushes back into the cavern: everyone’s turned to stone.
    • But Raya’s numb and indifferent to all of it, compared to her flurry in the scene before.
    • She takes a moment, then comes out
  • She raids the ghost-town camp, gets up, and gets on her way.
  • Business as usual. She crosses out a spot on the map, then looks up towards the next.

Present: Epilogue


  • A woman on a Serlot (some large tiger-wolf hybrid, like ATV’s) dismounts and enters the cavern.
    • She inspects the carnage left behind by the Druun
    • She picks up the Padipepper from the ground.
    • Some more armour-clad warriors on Serlots step out behind her.
    • “What are your orders, Princess Namaari?”

RAYA E2 - Tail

Episode 2 - Kumandra’s Hope

Theme: Kumandra’s next generation


  • In adding depth to Sisu’s characterization, I’d like for her to use weird old-timey terms and a foreign language to describe things and places. Kind of like ATLA’s Aang saying “flameo hotman”! Which is way better than Sisu spouting Gen Z slang.

Setup Sisu and Namaari

Introduce Sisu


  • Raya and Tuk-Tuk follow a river, which has now gone down to a small trickle. It flows into an old wrecked ship, surrounded by old whale bones, trash, etc.
  • She enters inside the shipwreck
  • She repeats the ritual.
    • “Sisudatu… I don’t know if you’re listening. I’ve searched every river to find you. And now I’m here at the very last one. I trusted too much, and I broke the world… Sisudatu, I just really… really want my back. Please.”
  • Magic happens, Sisu appears!
  • Raya: “I need to catch you up on a few things…” CUT transition;
  • “What?! This is bad. I’ve been asleep for 500 years, you brought back the Druun, and none of my brothers and sisters came back? Why didn’t they come back?” #todo
  • Let’s skip the part about unique individual dragon magic abilities. It’s meh and doesn’t really add much.
  • Raya pitches: the scroll says a fully reassembled Gem will destroy the Druun just like the first time, and bring everyone back from stone
    • But while the other gem pieces are with the tribe chiefs, Tail’s gem has been lost with the Tail chieftess, for five years
  • Sisu confirms that she is drawn to the Gem pieces and can direct Raya to each piece

Naamari pinch


  • On a hilltop, Naamari inspects the footprints of Tuk-tuk. Her own Serlot sniffs the tracks. Four Fang soldiers on their own Serlots flank her.
  • One of them point out that:
    1. Tail is infested with Druun, Raya’s good as stone
    2. Retrieving the scroll isn’t worth the risk
  • Namaari turns to him, sharply spitting, “Then go back home.” The soldiers side-eye amongst themselves.
  • Namaari hops onto her mount, “Or, follow me and make things right for Fang.”
    • Namaari pushes her mount onwards, leaving the rest of them to continue on.

Getting the Tail gem vs Namaari

Tail Temple


  • Sisu leads Raya, on Tuk-tuk, to uncover a hidden limestone temple in a cave of a cliff
  • Raya explains: each piece was claimed by each of the chiefs of the five lands.
    • We get a splitscreen, showing each tribe chief holding a weapon that has been embedded with their Gem piece.
    • Heart’s Gem is embedded into Chief Benja’s whip-sword keris
    • Fang’s Gem is embedded into Chief Virana’s scepter-trishula
    • Talon’s Gem is embedded into each of Chief Dang Hai’s four karambits
    • Spine’s Gem in a tipped kudi of a bamboo spear
    • Tail’s Gem in a kujang
  • Sisu questions why she is dressed in human clothes.
    • Raya says they have to disguise so they don’t attract attention.
    • Sisu rebuffs, “But don’t people love us, after all we’ve done for them? Won’t the tribes finally unite if they see me?”
    • Raya replies, “The other tribes all have bad people, like Namaari. Trust me.”
  • Sisu exclaims they should have brought a welcome gift for the Tail chieftess!
    • Raya mockingly waves, “I have loads of lemongrass to trade with, I’ve seen people go nuts over some common Heart herb. But this temple is abandoned.”
  • They work through the temple; and avoid traps.
    • Sisu, “Wow, you’re real good at slipping and sliding.”
    • Raya: “Yea, my dad trained me for this with our own version at home.”
    • Sisu stops, confused. “These traps wouldn’t stop the Druun.”
    • Raya replies, “They’re to stop people.” Sisu huffs in disappointment.
    • Raya also remarks that people from Tail are naturally good navigators/infiltrators, so these traps are totally in-character
  • We skip the awkward setup dialogue about Sisu being “good at swimming”.


  • They enter the temple throne room, and see the skeleton of the Tail chieftess, clutching her artefect.
    • They retrieve Tail’s Gem weapon artefact: a kujang.
  • They celebrate!
  • Sisu suddenly falls to the ground, transforming into a human version of herself.
    • “I think I’m losing my magic, because the Gem is shattered! We can’t take our sweet time. But now that you don’t have to disguise me, the rest should be easy!”
    • “This one was easy, but the rest of them are being held by a bunch of no-good binturis.”

Fang Ambush

  • “Raya!”, a voice calls out. “I’m sorry I made you feel that way.”
    • Raya turns around; it’s Namaari, adult, alone, just pulling herself up onto a landing that’s a stone’s throw away. (She didn’t see dragon!Sisu)
    • Raya grits, “Naamari.”
    • “Oh!” Sisu exclaims, “The Namaari who backstabbed you fifteen years ago!”
  • “I’m sorry, Raya. I was a kid, just wanting to please my mother.”
    • “Oh, please. You make the worst rumours we heard about Fang sound like children’s fables. You caused the world… to come to this! You took away my father.”
  • “I… did a wrong thing. And I realised I needed to make things right. So I led a team of scholars to study the ancient texts, to find some solution… then, six years ago, a Scroll was stolen from me by a woman and her Pandolin.”
    • Raya waves the stolen Scroll, “Don’t worry, I’m never stepping foot in Fang again. Fang is the last tribe I’d work with, and you’re the last person from Fang I’d trust.”
  • Raya continues, “Besides, I’ve already found Sisu.”
    • Sisu waves her human arm, “That’s me, Sisudatu the Dragon!”
    • Namaari arches a confused eyebrow.
    • Sisu: “Raya, she says she’s sorry. We should work with her! Then we can get the Gem artefact from Fang, then that’s just two more to go!”
  • Namaari: “Raya… I don’t know who is this crazy person you’ve convinced to be Sisu… but she’s right. It looks like you’re collecting all the five Gem artefacts, how do you expect to reassemble the Dragon Gem if you only have four? Unless…”
    • “Don’t worry about the Gem pieces, Namaari. Worry about the landslide…”
    • “What landsli-”
  • Raya triggers a bobby trap, causing some loose rocks to fall onto Namaari. The temple collapses.
    • Namaari’s caught in the landslide and needs to retreat.
    • Raya grabs Sisu by the hand. “Run!”


  • Raya and Sisu mount on Tuk-tuk, and pull away
    • three Fang soldiers outside launch in hot pursuit of Raya on their Serlots, one stays back to help Namaari
    • “See, Sisu!” Raya shouts, “Namaari had backup! We can’t trust Fang!”

Fang Chase Sequence


  • Tuk-Tuk is a respectably fast tank, but the predator Serlots are are like ATV’s
    • Tuk-Tuk’s scale armour and Raya’s whip-sword repels the Fang attacks from all around
    • Namaari eventually joins the ranks of her soldiers on her own Serlot
  • Let’s extend this chase sequence by adding some more mythical elements!
    • Perhaps some Druun pop up.
    • Namaari is delayed as she stops her chase to defend her people. She can actually take on at least one Druun herself with normal weapons.
    • Perhaps they use some wild local vegetation to their advantage
    • using magical properties, maybe some giant opposite-mimosa leaves that expand when touched
  • Raya reinforces her point, “Naamari just wants to steal the other tribes’ Gem pieces to make Fang stronger!”
  • Eventually, the chase leads them to a narrow cliffside, with a large lake basin below
    • “We need to lose them!”
    • Sisu exclaims, “The Druun and the Serlot mounts (large hybrid cats) are both afraid of water!”
    • Raya hard rejects the idea, “No way!”
    • But as Namaari gains distance, close enough to touch them…
  • Sisu pulls the reins on Tuk-tuk, veering him sideways and hard launching them (Tuk-tuk, Sisu, and Raya) a good distance off and into the the water below
    • The Serlots completely halt, refusing to go into the water
    • One Fang soldier dives in
    • Namaari to the rest: “Follow me to the docks!”


  • PANIC. Raya is flailing all about. She takes in gulps of water
    • Quick FLASHBACKS of when she fell off Heart’s bridge, her dad turning to stone…
  • Sisu tries but can’t transform into dragon form
    • (She has to remain human so that they can’t just mount on Sisu and swim off, they will need a boat)
    • but she has human limbs. She tries swimming like a dragon, which kind of works
  • Sisu then notices Raya struggling. She fetches her and drags her upright
    • it’s a battle, trying to save a flailing person in water. But Sisu is adept enough
  • Ika. Ika! Stop resisting. I’m here to help.”
    • Sisu calls out to Tuk-Tuk: “I’ll come back for you!”
    • Tuk-tuk wrestles with the one Fang soldier who dived in. He’s winning — pandolins are great swimmers. He does a cute wave back to Sisu before continuing pummelling.
  • As Raya catches her breaths, we now see that the lake is a dock for a dozen-or-so fishing ships, mostly unoccupied
  • Sisu swims over to the nearest boat and tosses Raya aboard
    • Raya flails around, confirming that she’s touching land again
    • Sisu swims back towards Tuk-tuk
    • Back on the boat, a shadow is cast over Raya
    • Raya, soaking wet, looks up:

Establishing Boun and the Boat


  • There’s a Tail kid, 15 years old. Frying wok in one hand, spatula in another.
  • “Welcome to the Kumandra-famous Shrimporium! My name is Boun, I’ll be your server today! Shrimp—”
    • Raya, still coughing out water, “Where’s the captain?”
    • “I am the captain! Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp barbecue, boiled shrimp congee, broiled shrimp congee…”
  • As Boun yaps on, Raya looks over her shoulder: Namaari’s Fang squad has already made their way towards the coast. There’s a boardwalk that extends a short while, and the Serlots just have to hop across a few ships to get to the Shrimporium. T-1 minute.
    • Raya, finally getting her breath, speaks over him: “Can you just drive the boat out a little bit — but not too far out!”
    • Boun: “Oh, I see, you want the dining-at-sea Tail experience. It’ll cost you extra!”
    • Raya glances around for people at the other ships.
    • Boun: “Sorry, until sunset, I’m the only sailor in this lake who can serve you!”
    • “What, why?!”
    • Boun, “…because today is Midsummer on a leap year? And the men don’t drive their boats out or do any work, to spend time with their family today? — And I’m not sixteen yet.”
  • Boun double-takes. “Wait, you don’t know… you’re not from Tail. Sorry, I can’t serve you.”
    • Raya: “No-no, I am Tail! Yes, I’d like the out-on-the-ocean experience.”
    • Boun: “Momma always said—”
  • SPLASH! The boat totters as Tuk-tuk climbs aboard.
    • Boun: “WHA-WHAT IS THAT! Please, don’t hurt me!”
    • Raya: “Don’t freak out! That’s my pet mount, Tuk-tuk, he’s a Pandolin. He’s friendly.”
  • Tuk-tuk uses his mouth to pull a human hand out of the water — it’s Sisu.
    • Sisu greets Boun: “S’lam! The water is so refreshing on a Midsummer noon—”
    • Boun: “Are you Tail?”
    • Raya tries to mouth-signal to Sisu…
    • Sisu spins around and checks her bum, thinking she hasn’t shifted back properly, “Ashka! Wait… no tail. Just a normal-shaped human punggung.”
  • Boun: “Please, I can’t serve you if you’re not Tail.”
    • Sisu: “We have gifts! Raya, you said you have lemongrass?”
    • Boun hops over, changed, “Lemongrass?! No way! I thought they were extinct!”
  • Namaari’s Serlot starts racing down the boardwalk towards them
    • Raya shoves a fistful of herbs into Boun’s hands. “Drive!”
  • Boun stashes the lemongrass in a basket and hops into the driver’s seat, and launches the boat full-throttle
    • it’s not fast, but it’s enough
    • the Serlots start jumping across the vacant ships to close the gap—
    • but the gang narrowly make their escape

Fang Resolution


  • One of the Fang soldiers notes that
    1. Raya can now escape anywhere, they won’t keep up with the boat
    2. they’ll likely go to Talon next for the next Gem piece
  • Namaari commands not to pursue;
    • Talon is strong and dangerous territory, we’ll intercept after
    • She chooses one of her elite soldiers to follow and spy on Raya #payme
    • not to interfere. Just collect info
  • Namaari needs to head back to Fang to talk with her mother, Chief Virana
    • she needs to know what Raya is really trying to do
    • (Namaari doesn’t actually understand the scroll she showed when she was younger)


Settling into the Shrimporium

Raya’s trauma


  • Raya looks out: Namaari’s squad retreats behind a mountain
  • Raya peeks at Boun: his hands works fast with a chopping knife, slicing up the prawns and vegetables quite expertly
  • Raya peers over the boat. She bites her lip in discomfort, and scurries back.
    • Sisu notices this: “Ika. What was that back there?”
    • They whisper out of earshot of Boun.
    • Raya deflects. “Yea. You didn’t listen to me, I said not to go into the water. We’ll dock as soon as possible and continue to Talon on Tuk-tuk.”
    • “Those cat things can outrun Tuk-tuk. If I had control of my full dragon power, I could fly us wherever, but I don’t, so for now a boat is still faster for long-distance travel!”
    • Tuk-tuk lounges lazily, exhausted from the previous chase
  • Sisu: “Besides, we’re also safer from the Druun on the water.”
    • Raya: “We can’t be completely sure we can trust Boun, or any other sailor.”
    • Sisu: “Get your own boat”
    • Raya: “I never learnt how to drive a boat.”
    • Sisu: “You’ve tracked down every river’s end in Kumandra, but you never learnt how to sail? Kumandra isn’t that big. If you learnt how to sail, you would’ve taken much less than six years.”
    • Raya, “You got me, I just can’t swim.”
    • Sisu: “Then why didn’t you learn? And come to think of it, if you assembled people and spread out, finding all the river’s ends would’ve taken less than a few months!”
    • Raya: “You can’t trust anyone!”
    • Sisu: “If you want the tribes to trust each other and unite under One Kumandra, you need to start by trusting me. What’s the truth, Raya?”
  • Raya sighs, downcast.
    • with voiced-over’ed FLASHBACKS:
    • “When my dad threw me into the water, to save me, the last thing I saw was him turning to stone. I wanted to cry, scream, wail. But how could I, when the river was drowning me?”
  • We see young Raya spasming in the water like adult Raya previously
    • never dying, never living
    • the river goes on for a long while…
    • “So every time I fall into deep waters, my body does this thing…”
    • NEXT FLASHBACK: Raya, a bit older now, trying to jump across the River, but falls in. She spasms again.
  • Back to present: “Every time, I’m reminded how my dad should’ve never given his trust to the other tribes.”
  • Sisu: “I’m sorry I pushed us in. But Boun, he’s just a kid, he’s not the Namaari who hurt you all those years ago. Namaari now isn’t the same Namaari who hurt you all those years ago either. It seems a little unfair to automatically assume the worst.”
  • Raya rolls her head around, deliberating. “I’ve been unfair to Boun, but Namaari is a different story.”

Late Lunch

  • “Food’s ready!” calls Boun
    • Raya sits up and goes over to Boun.
    • “And now, for the legendary garnish!”
  • “Wait!!”
    • Raya swaps out the herbs in Boun’s basket (which are actually padipepper) with a whole head of actual lemongrass from her satchel
    • Boun: “The colour’s different.”
  • Raya covers up: “These ones are fresher, they just grow like that.”
  • Boun takes the actual lemongrass, expertly slices them up, and distributes it into the congee
  • “It’s about the theatrics, the customers love the theatrics!”
    • Boun takes a test scoop — he dramatically falls to his knees in awe
  • WAH! I never thought shrimp congee could get any better.”
  • Boun serves up a bowl for Raya first
    • Boun notices that Raya’s apprehensive
  • “You haven’t even tasted it yet”
  • “Oh, it’s just that. I’ve lived on my own dried jackfruit for the past 15 years of my life… I’m not saying you’ve poisoned my food! Haha! You wouldn’t poison my food! I wouldn’t poison your food! Hahahahaha…..”
  • Sisu: “Quit being weird and eat the congee.”
  • Raya: “…all I’m saying is that you never know! You know!”
    • Sisu forces a spoonful of congee in her mouth
  • Raya protests at first, but then she surrenders, groaning at how good it is
    • (just like Young Namaari in Episode 1 tasting the full stew)
  • Raya mumbles: “I haven’t tasted food like this in 15 years…”
    • (Young Namaari says this too in E1)
    • Boun serves up the rest
  • Sisu: “Hey, Boun, if it’s ok with you, we’d like you to sail us to Talon.”
    • “Talon! Another tribe. I’ve never left Tail all my life.”
    • Raya: “Or just drop us off at the next stop, we’ll get our own boat—”
    • “I think I could—”
    • Raya: “No, we don’t want to trouble you. The next stop.”
  • Boun: “But first I’ll need to make a quick stop on the way. There’s something I need to do.”
    • “What is it?”
    • “Oh. Just family matters. Midsummer things. Anyways, shrimp is…”
    • Raya squints suspiciously.

Namaari interlude


  • Namaari and her soldiers pass through a field.
    • Petrified dragons lay in heroic poses—they look merely hand-sculpted
  • Namaari solemnly (genuinely?) pays her respects, more so than the others

The Visit



  • It’s dark-out. Fierce winds cause the Shrimporium to rock back-and-forth on the turbulent River. Dry lightning flashes.
  • Raya paces around. “What if he’s arranging an assault with his village?”
    • Sisu: “Boun has been gone for 5 minutes. You must have damar. You were so worried he’d poison our porridge, and see, we’re fine!”
  • Raya: “But what if that’s his trick?”
    • Sisu: “What if, what if. What about what is?”
  • Raya: “What is the reason why he made us stay on his boat?”
    • Sisu kicks back on a couch. “Our comfort? He also told us to watch after the boat.”
    • “I could steal his boat!”
    • “He trusts you that you wouldn’t.”
  • Raya shakes her head and jumps out of the boat onto land. She sighs at the safety of solid ground.
    • “No one trusts like that anymore.”
    • “Raya, no! Wait! I don’t know how boat anchors work!”
  • Raya wades to shore in the ankle-height muddy waters.
    • She spots Boun’s footprints in the mud. She follows it.


  • Raya picks up her pace, weaving through the mangroves with determination
    • She brandishes her weapons; Heart’s whip-sword in one hand, Tail’s kujang in the other
  • She reaches a hut. Through a window, a candle reveals the shadows of Boun and three figures inside
    • Boun whispers, “Dad… Mom… She has lemongrass AND Tail’s gem piece… what do we do?”
    • Raya narrows her eyes. Gotcha.
  • Raya sneaks up, readies herself, and bursts in through the door.



  • Boun turns around. His face is red with tears. He’s alone, kneeling before three stone statues.
  • Raya drops her weapons in horror. “Oh… family matters… I’m so sorry…”
  • Boun: “Wait, who’s watching the Shrimporium?”


  • Raya and Boun race through the swamp, vines swaying in the dry storm
  • “Help!!!” cries Sisu. Tuk-tuk wails. Tempest. Lightning. Thunder.


  • The ship had drifted to the far coast of the 15m-wide river, splintering against rocks
  • A bunch of Druun manage to climb on and tear apart the ship
  • Sisu and Tuk-tuk can’t do anything
  • Raya grapples across the river with her whip-sword and expertly fights off some Druun
  • Boun swings across a vine, landing on the Shrimporium’s roof next to Raya.
    • “Give me Tail’s artefact! Let me help you!”
    • Raya ignores him.
  • Raya gets knocked into the river by the final Druun
    • the satchel containing Tail’s artefact was flung onto the boat deck
    • but Raya’s feet are caught by Sisu
    • Raya’s upper half gets submerged under the currents, and she starts spazzing out
    • Raya pulls herself out of the water
    • from the tattered roof, a Druun looks down at her
  • The Druun on the roof jumps down onto Raya…
    • There’s a rapid flash of blue.
  • Pulling the camera back: Boun takes Tail’s Gem artefact (we’ll be referring to it as “the Kujang”) and slices up the Druun as it fell mid-air
    • Boun has chef slicing skills.
  • The Druun vaporises.
  • Boun expertly cuts some slack ropes, causing the Shrimporium to recenter itself in the River
    • Large cloths unfurl throughout the ship’s exteriors, shielding them in silence and peace
  • Raya passes out from exhaustion.



  • Sisu shakes Raya awake: “We’re here.”
  • Boun steadily brings the tattered Shrimporium towards some meagre docks
  • Raya: “It’s already noon?”
    • Sisu: “Yeah, lunch is ready.”
    • Raya: “I’ve always woken myself before sunrise. But for the first time in years, I’m waking up to voices other than Tuk-Tuk. I feel safe. On a boat.”
    • Sisu nods over to Boun
  • Raya walks up to him. “Thanks for saving me… I’m sorry about the Shrimp-aquarium.”
    • “Shrimp-O-rium.”
    • Raya, “Sorry. For assuming the worst of you. And for what happened to your family.”
    • Boun, “That’s Kumandra, I guess.”
  • “It doesn’t have to be. Boun, would you still be willing to take us to Talon — I’ll buy your boat repairs… do you trust me?”
    • “No.”
    • Sigh. Raya nods in acceptance. She opens her mouth—
    • Boun: “No, not yet. Maybe, in time. Besides, the ship needs repairs.”
    • Raya: “Gus-gus, captain. Let’s sail.”
    • Sisu smiles.

RAYA E3 - Talon

Episode 3 - Kumandra’s Faces

Namaari Interlude


  • Namaari and her crew are surveying from a lookout point, making camp
  • A glow appears, off in the distance, along a river
    • Junior Soldier: “That must be Khaang. He needs to pick up his pace to Talon.”
    • Namaari, “Raya will know he’s spying on her if he barges in on a large noisy Serlot.”
  • Namaari turns back to an older soldier
    • “Admiral Thaanh, can’t we find another route back home to Fang?”
    • “Princess, if you want to make it back in three days without meeting any Druun, then we need to go through Heart.”
    • Namaari’s reluctant.
    • “I know how much that night hurt you, fifteen years go. I was there. But if Raya is out to steal the Gem pieces of every tribe, then your mother needs to make plans.”
    • (What? Namaari, hurt? Wasn’t she the one who backstabbed Raya?) #payme
  • “Okay, Admiral Thaanh. Let’s hope Khaang succeeds in…”

Talon and Boun


  • Chyron: TALON
  • some establishing shots: the floating platforms, the merchant boats, lanterns, noisy crowds


  • The Shrimporium pulls into Talon docks. The gang steps out.
    • Sisu ogles: I didn’t know Talon became so beautiful…
    • Raya: After the Druun returned fifteen years ago, Talon moved onto their lake to be safe from them.
    • Boun: If only the families in Tail could’ve banded together like this.
  • Raya: Boun, this is for your the past week of delicacies on the Shrimp-museum.
    • Boun protests the name, but eyes widen as a bunch of coins drop into his hand
    • Raya: Like I promised. I’m sorry I assumed the worst of you. Purchase your ship repairs and go crazy with cooking ingredients. See you, kid.
  • “Thank you, Raya. I wish you smooth sailing!”
    • They part ways.
  • Boun reaches out his hand at the first stall for a fruit.
    • Raya catches his hand and leads him away. She whispers, “That’s fake.”
    • Sisu: “Fake?” They regroup away and look around at the stalls.
    • Raya: “They’re almost all fake. They’re banded together alright, a band of scammers and frauds.”
    • “Why do people still work with them?”
    • “Because like it or not. Without Talon, the tribes wouldn’t trade with each other.
    • Kumandra would’ve fallen. But you still have to keep your guard up.”
  • Boun: Is that why you have those glowing weapons?
    • Raya defensively hides her satchel.
    • Sisu stares through Raya.
    • Raya analytically confesses. “I am not from Tail. Yes, I am collecting glowing weapons from each tribe. I have an important mission to make things right, for everyone. I’m sorry I’m not telling the whole story, but this is the truth.”
    • “Okay.” “Okay?”
    • “Yeah. I didn’t tell you about my parents, either. Like it or not, I guess I have to trust you just enough to win together. Like the people of Talon.”
  • “Gus-gus. Stay safe, Boun.”
    • “Take care, Raya, Sisu!”

The Plan + Mask Festival

  • Raya: I told him the truth.
    • Sisu: Half-truth.
    • Raya: It’s all-truth. Just not all the truth there is.
    • Sisu: It’s a start.
  • Sisu: Okay, so I was thinking you let me go first.
    • Huh?
    • With the Talon Chief. Hang Dai?
    • “Dang Hai. And no, you can’t come”
    • I’ve been asleep for 500 years, the Druun monsters are back, and I’m the only dragon who isn’t stone.
    • if he finds out you’re really Sisu, then he’ll imprison you and use you. Easier: I’ll just dip in, get the gem, and get out.”
    • We don’t need to steal, we can work together.
    • Things are different now, Sisu. The chiefs may have worked together 500 years ago, but nowadays, every chief just works for their own tribe.
  • You’ve not been here because you’re scared of water.
  • masks

Meet Noi, Nan and Ner

  • Noi pretends to be the chieftan’s daughter
    • only during Mask Festival can Noi go around anonymously
    • “Dang Hai only has sons…”

Getting to Dang Hai


  • Midpoint: realising there’s a Fang spy
    • only one of the gang knew about the plan

Namaari in Heart

False Victory with The Gem

  • reveal Nan is Noi’s parent figure

The Trap


  • Raya looks back; there isn’t much time.
    • “My real name is Raya, daughter of Chief Benja of the tribe of Heart. The land of Kumandra fell apart because I made a mistake. Sisudatu is the Last Dragon. If you re-assemble the Gem, she will make things right. Don’t trust anyone. Or do. I don’t know, I just know that I trust you. I have to.”
    • She throws over the satchel containing the Gem weapons.
    • She looks away. “I’m sorry bá, I couldn’t do it.”


  • The Shrimporium sails off
  • Raya files through the satchel
    • She double-takes. Ruffles it again. Turns its contents out.
    • The Kujang. The Karambit.
    • Heart’s Whip-Keris is missing.
  • Raya freaks out. Wails. Angry.

RAYA E4 - Spine


  • “The gem isn’t a weapon!” Well now it really is made into weapons, and actually helps against Druun.
  • Spine does need their super-staff to survive, and are willing to give it up on Sisu’s authenticity
  • Jianzi / đá cầu / sipa / capteh
    • except it’s like combat juggling
    • each team has to keep “alive” their dacau, whilst trying to take down the other teams’
    • maybe they have three each, and can use them to hit others out of the air
      • the lighter women are launched into the air to spike opponents’ balls out
    • soft combat is allowed!
    • there’s a 2m deep pond in the center of the arena
      • Spine players abuse Raya not willing to cross into the pond
      • Raya must admit her fear of water,
        • or maybe be willing to stand underwater to boost her shorter teammates like Noi to land a spike
    • Namaari brings chilis from Fang to help with the cold
  • lol one of those doors with an eye slider, where you have to answer a prompt with the correct passphrase
  • they don’t believe in dragons lol
  • Raya’s the avatar of the worst traits of the five nations lol
    • Tail: generally untrusting
    • Talon: false deception
    • Spine: indifferent independence
    • Heart: champion conspiring
    • Fang: ruthless, internal trust
  • they find a water redirection