- "Does that hurt, comrade? I'm sorry; Sasha doesn't know his own strength sometimes. Please believe that I will learn what you’re hiding from me; when I do, our next meeting will not be so pleasant."
- —Anonymous Chekist.[2a]
The Chekist of Kislev are the Tzarina's secret police. Their existence is not secret, and they have a lot of open members, but they also have spies searching for signs of corruption and opposition to Katarin's rule.[1a]
The chekist are—by decree of the Tzarina—infallible in their interpretation of the law. Whatever they say the law is, is the law, and the penalties they select are always appropriate to the crime in question. They never convict the wrong people, and while they may arrest and torture people who prove to be innocent, that is no fault of the chekist.[1a]
The most important qualification for becoming a chekist is absolute loyalty to the Tzarina, which is closely followed by competence. Katarin does not want to institute a reign of terror; she just wants to be able to deal with her enemies quickly and efficiently. Chekist who display excessive cruelty and incompetence are arrested by their superiors and soon become even more closely acquainted with the furnishings of the interrogation rooms. The simply incompetent generally die in the course of their duty, without any assistance from their superiors.[1a]
Chekist who are sadistic but competent pose the biggest problem. In most cases, they are rotated around the country, so that no single area suffers too much from their depredations. Often, they are assigned to deal with very dangerous threats because the hierarchy would rather lose a difficult chekist than one who fits in perfectly.[1a]
The chekist carry an elaborate, minted medallion identifying their position and show it if required to prove who they are. They wear black when on duty but have no formal uniform beyond that, making it relatively easy to pose as a member of the secret police. The chekist deal with anyone who pretends to be one of them, which is another task frequently assigned to those who are both sadistic and competent.[1a]
The principal goal of the chekist—the Ice Queen's secret police—is to ensure the personal and political security of the Tzarina and her family. This task is performed by any means possible, regardless of local laws; after all, in Kislev, what the chekist deems as law, is law. Their techniques employed to investigate the various Chaos Cults, revolutionaries, criminals, hostile organisations, spies, and manifold other “threats” are often brutal, leaving the chekist with an ugly reputation. Their headquarters squat in Kislev City, but rumours suggest they have offices throughout the Ancient Widow's land, all siphoning information back to the capital. Some suggest the chekist even have agents in the Empire and beyond, each monitoring the activities of foreign threats to the Ice Queen and her rule; but this, of course, is denied.[1b]
Checkists have no official, structured organisations to speak of, save in their devotion and duty to the Tzarina herself. They rule through fear and intimidation – not qualities one seeks in a friend or drinking companion.[2a]
Very few men can take the strain of such constant vigilance; many chekist agents retire from the ranks after only a few years of active service. The ruthlessness necessary to do their job doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and only a few individuals truly have the utter lack of compassion and unthinking dedication to their Queen that allows them to forget the pain and suffering they inflict on individuals – some of them innocent of any crime – for the good of the State.[2a]
Because of their connections to the chekist organisation, as well as the many skills they honed while in the Tzarina’s service, retired chekists are highly sought-after by all of the crowned heads of the Old World. For the same reasons they are also prized by the criminal underworld, and can command fat salaries if their reputation is fearsome enough.[2a]
Little Known Facts
Chekists are well known by reputation, but few claim to know anyone actually belonging to the ranks of the Tzarina's secret police force. In the icy, wind-swept lands of Kislev, chekists are never spoken of openly, especially in public.[2a]
Each chekist has a network of informers that they cultivate wherever they go. These more frequently provide information for a little coin, but some do so for the good of the homeland and the Queen. Chekist's informers provide regular reports, just as the chekists themselves must account for their own actions on a daily or weekly basis if at home, or weekly to monthly while in the field. Chekists have no desire to be needlessly cruel, and those within their ranks who are will ultimately find themselves suffering the same fate as those they tormented – at the hands of the checkist.[2a]
- The Chekists seem to be a reference to the Cheka, the first secret police of the Soviet Union which was active from 1917 to 1922. A member of Cheka was called a chekist, and the the term often referred to Soviet secret police throughout the entiretly of the Soviet period, despite official name changing over time.