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RAYA E2 - Tail

Episode 2 - Kumandra’s Hope

Theme: Kumandra’s next generation

Notes

  • 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

SHIPWRECK CAVERN, TAIL - DAY (PRESENT)

  • Chyron: TAIL - ONE WEEK LATER
  • 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

HILLTOP, TAIL

  • 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

TEMPLE, TAIL

  • 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”.

THRONE ROOM, TEMPLE, TAIL

  • 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 blows on a seemingly silent whistle

TEMPLE, TAIL

  • Raya and Sisu burst out of the main Temple doors
    • Fang soldiers jump out of hiding!
    • so does Tuk-Tuk! He knocks the Fang soldiers away
  • Raya and Sisu mount on Tuk-tuk, and pull away
    • 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

LIMESTONE CLIFFS, TAIL

  • 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!”

LAKE, TAIL

  • SPLASH!
  • 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

SHRIMPORIUM SHIP, LAKE, TAIL

  • 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

DOCKS, LAKE, TAIL

  • 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)

FADE TO:

Settling into the Shrimporium

Raya’s trauma

SHRIMPORIUM SHIP, LAKE, TAIL

  • 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

DRAGON GRAVEYARD, WILDERNESS - DUSK

  • 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

Suspicion

SHRIMPORIUM SHIP, RIVER, SWAMP, TAIL OUTSKIRTS - NIGHT

  • 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.

SWAMP, TAIL OUTSKIRTS - NIGHT

  • 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.

Mistakes

HUT, SWAMP, TAIL OUTSKIRTS - NIGHT

  • 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?”

SWAMP, TAIL OUTSKIRTS - NIGHT

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

SHRIMPORIUM SHIP, SWAMP, TAIL OUTSKIRTS - NIGHT

  • 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.

Resolution

SHRIMPORIUM SHIP, RIVER, TALON OUTSKIRTS - DAY

  • 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.