I am the First,
A Shadow at the end of the Hallway.
I spin the Carousel,
The Laughter recedes away.
My Finger on your Lips,
I stole something Precious.
Koslov Polarnova came from the remote town of Clawzan, located at the very tip of the north of Roarssia. He had no memory of the icy little town, and he never would; his mama had ferried him to the United States of Animerica in her own womb. Only when he was sixteen would Koslov know why his papa had not gone with them. Of all the cities his mama could have chosen to start their new life, she had chosen Zootopia. She had made her home in Tundratown, a district as frigid as her hometown, and found employment in the Fishtown Market, a building as cold as the North Pole.
The reception to a foreign predator from the mafia-ridden Roarssia, even back then, was far frostier. Koslov had been born in an alleyway, two blocks away from their shoebox of an apartment, when a stressful conflict with a belligerent bull led to labor. By the will of God his mama and himself survived.
She lived a further twelve years before a drunk driver finished what childbirth couldn't.
From there Koslov grew up on the streets, pickpocketing when he could, scrounging what he needed and sleeping where he dared. He had soon lost count of the number of nights he'd thought he'd never make it through, yet make it he did. Even when Mayor Theodore Swinton introduced the electrifying TAME collars when he was fourteen years old, he had refused to die. It wasn't until he survived to fifteen years of age that he dared to enter the city's infamous fight clubs. He'd fought his first fight in a basement beneath the Fishtown Market, succeeding beyond his wildest hopes when he knocked a grizzly's lights out with an uppercut. His earnings had put food on the trashcan lid for two weeks, and ironically earned him a new friend in his first opponent. Even now Koslov remembered the incident where they had begun their friendship. After Koslov won his first fight, some disgruntled predators who had betted on the other guy had cornered him in an alleyway, armed with claws and knives. He never could have imagined his own defeated opponent coming to his aid, eliminating the four attackers in less than three seconds. The grizzly, a gargantuan creature of Eweropean descent calling himself Sedor, would continue to prove his loyalty many times over the next five years.
After his fifth successful fight Koslov gained the courage to begin betting on himself. That alone had made him more money than he could have ever hoped for, but he would never attempt a hustle. Sedor would always advise against it. It was never worth the consequences of pissing off the gamblers.
After his fiftieth successful fight, he and the grizzly combined their shared winnings to rent an apartment, two floors above the apartment he'd lived in before his mama had perished. Three days after his return, the building manager had revealed an enticing piece of information about his mama that she hadn't lived to tell him; the fact that his papa had been left behind when she'd emigrated, and no-one knew why. The temptation had been too great. He'd gathered up half his life savings and stowed away on the first boat to Roarssia.
Never had he suspected that his journey would have led to his first encounter with the criminal underworld.
After the boat docked in the snowy city of Moscow and Koslov had been caught and beaten, he'd travelled for four days, reaching the city of Kargoat before a chance encounter had cut his journey short. He'd met an old polar bear from Clawzan in a bar on the outskirts of Kargoat, who just so happened to have known a polar bear called Morris Polarnova. As it turned out, Morris had been dead for sixteen years. A local gangster had tired of his unpaid debts and iced him. Barzorovich had been his name, and his headquarters lay in an infamous nightclub on the other side of town. Koslov hadn't hesitated to cross the town and stride right up to the old goat as he sat at a round table surrounded by guards and prostitutes. Barzorovich had laughed at the polar bear's demands for answers, until he'd gunned down all his thugs and scared off all his whores. Then he'd cowered behind the table and told Koslov everything. He'd wailed of how he had personally pierced Morris' throat with an ice pick as his gangsters held him down before having his corpse tossed into the lake that sat between Kargoat and Clawzan. Then he'd tossed a wad of bills at the bear and begged for his life.
So Koslov had eviscerated the little fat fucker and left Roarssia for good.
Upon his return, Koslov's rise to prominence had been quick. After countless more fights and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of winnings, Koslov and Sedor had taken over the fight club, and from there, the Fishtown Market. With a steady, substantial income at long last, they'd begun to establish connections. They'd started with the local businesses before expanding to other districts from there. They'd discovered that money trumps bigotry when they also succeeded into establishing connections with some prominent officials. With their positions becoming more secure by the month, they'd even managed to bribe some corrupt officers of the ZPD to their side. Koslov and Sedor soon rose to become two of the most powerful bosses in Zootopia's criminal underworld, rivaled only by Mr. Big himself.
Koslov was thirty-five when he'd reached the top of the food chain, and by then he'd moved his headquarters from the Fishtown Market to a derelict building that he'd refurbished into a lovely night club christened Koslov's Palace. Sedor had stayed behind in the Fishtown Market, to oversee their old operations while Koslov oversaw the new. It was in Koslov's Palace that Koslov had met Anna.
They'd married within a year, and a year after that Morris Polarnova II was born. The day Koslov first held him in his arms had been the first day he'd felt joy since his mama had passed. Sedor had been more than happy to be the child's godfather, and always made sure to attend Morris' birthday parties. At Morris' christening, Sedor's gift was to personally murder a hitmammal posing as a chauffer and send his body back to Mr. Big as a warning. At Morris' first birthday party, Sedor gave him a teddy bear that looked a lot like the big bear himself.
At Morris' second birthday party, Sedor never made it.
Even now, the grizzly's bewildering disappearance filled the forty-two year old polar bear with sorrow. His gang had searched all twelve districts, but Sedor had vanished without a trace. Even a tense meeting with Mr. Big had brought no results, though it had not surprised Koslov. If Mr. Big had been responsible, he would have made sure his rival knew. At Morris' third birthday party, his son's persistent questions as to the whereabouts of his Uncle Sedor had sucked all the joy from Koslov's soul, but at the same time had filled him with rage.
He would find out what had become of Sedor if it took him the rest of his life.
Koslov almost stopped listening to the fox's pitch, his stoic expression hiding the polar bear's inner grief as he thought of Sedor. A year and a half had passed since Sedor's disappearance, and his recent hunt for a hitmammal hiding in Savanna Central had turned out to be a dead end. As a gesture of goodwill Koslov had let the hitmammal live, but the whole affair had left him deeply frustrated. Nevertheless, he returned his attention to the fox in a brown suit sitting across the desk. He was gesturing animatedly at the model building between them, nearing the end of his pitch, and Koslov was seeing promise.
Nicholas Wilde was his name, and he was proposing an idea for an amusement park called Wilde Times. Apparently it had all started when an accident sent him to the vet with a potential neck injury. The reluctant doctor had had no choice but to temporarily remove the TAME collar so he could conduct a proper examination. Even a month after the event, Nick could remember what came next like it was yesterday. From the moment that the collar had been taken from around his neck, it was as if the weight of the world had been taken with it. For a few blissful seconds, he had forgotten what it meant to be discriminated, the fox said, to be restrained like a savage beast and feared like a ticking time bomb.
To sum it up… Nick had felt free.
And now, with his collar back around his neck, he had a plan to share that freedom with every other predator in the city. For a price, of course. With his recently acquired medical license, he could legally remove TAME collars from other predators so they could enjoy the wonders of Wilde Times without fear of being shocked. So long as they remained in the park while without their collars and no-one from the prey population discovered his operation, they could experience the same freedom Nick had felt in the infirmary.
The plan was brilliant. It was daring. It would make Nick the richest mammal in Zootopia.
So long as he made sure Koslov got his cut.
His expression never changing, Koslov signaled to the track suited polar bear holding the briefcase. Raymond approached the suddenly worried fox, slammed the briefcase on the desk, and opened it to display the cash Nick needed to realize his dream.
Nicholas Wilde gaped at the money for a few seconds before a relieved smile began to form. Raymond closed the briefcase and spun it so the handle was facing Nick.
Koslov crossed his arms and spoke for the first time since the fox had entered the room.
"You have everything you need to build your park, Mr. Wilde. Don't let me down."
Nick nodded nervously, his collar beeping yellow as he reached for the handle.