Bjørkr Óskursmág, The Dru'un Champion

The Life and Death of a Philanthropist

Bjørkr was a philanthropist and the CEO of one of the most successful corporations of Fusion City. He is most known for his altruism and for fighting for the rights of those on the very lowest rungs of the societal ladder. He was particularly interested in Dru'un rights and advocated special education and integration programs to help Dru’un succeed in society.  
Bjørkr was a fucking legend. I often talk shit about the corpies for taking the piss and stepping over our corpses to climb their way to the top of the shitpile that is this city, but Bjørkr wasn’t like that. Bjørkr was a man who made an honest living and used his resources to help those that needed it most. He didn’t step on our heads to get where he was. He got there fair and square, and when he got there, he put his money to work on making Fusion City a better place for us who make this place worth living in. Without us, the gimmies would have no one to take care of their shit. Without Bjørkr, we would be far worse off.
Galwin Dradik, speaking about Bjørkr on his unofficial memorial day.

Background

Bjørkr was born on the 12th of Falma in the year 12 PC, 105 years ago. He was born a Kuna, taking on the species of his mother, Krista. His father, Lodvik, was an Illim and worked as a fusion plant technician.   Bjørkr’s parents had dreamed of having a child for a long time but had been initially unsuccessful to the point of believing one of them was sterile. Eventually they succeeded and Bjørkr was born. They lived a relatively comfortable life on the base level of the city and planned for Bjørkr to receive the best education they could afford.   At age 19 Bjørkr enrolled at the Galic Institute of Business and Technology where he graduated with honors seven years later. Thanks to his parents’ generous support and working hard himself he graduated without significant debt.  

Early career

Bjørkr moved to District 6, a commercial hub, following his graduation and started working as an arcade hall repair technician. He worked there for about 5 years before he got a job as a mid-level manager for Sensotech, which owned the arcade hall (and several other similar establishments). Bjørkr showed that he was a capable manager and had an unusual knack for combining corporation profits with good business practices.   After having worked at Sensotech for another 7 years, Bjørkr had amassed a good amount of money and decided that he wanted to do more with his life. He quit his job and started a business of his own where he worked as a consultant business advisor and manager, helping other smaller businesses and corporations improve their workflow, business, and economics. He was wildly successful thanks to his keen eye and fantastic business-sense, leading to him rapidly getting far too much work than he could manage on his own.   Within only 8 years, Bjørkr's company, Bjørkr and Associates Wealth Management (BAA Wealth Management for short), had grown to over a hundred employees and were managing hundreds of companies around Fusion City.  

The Philanthropist

Mr. Óskursmág made one thing clear to the employees of his company. Under no circumstances were they ever to suggest a business decision that took advantage of their customers. He wanted everyone to run clean and fair to the customers even if that meant a smaller profit margin. Despite this, his business continued to soar.   At age 72, after 34 years as CEO of BAA Wealth Management, Bjørkr retired from the position but kept a seat on the board to keep an eye on things. He had amassed a staggering amount of personal wealth and lived comfortably in the Vault of Heaven. Bjørkr had always been a fair and just man but he now felt he had the opportunity to really change things in the city.   Something that had always bothered Bjørkr was the treatment of the Dru’un of the city. Ever since his childhood days, he had a soft spot for the slow and brutish Dru’un as one of his best friends was a Dru’un who was killed in a goon shootout when he was only 14. Bjørkr was often outspoken on how society shouldn‘t treat goons as incurable, violent criminals but that education and support could help many of them get out of the criminal lifestyle.   BAA WM had already made headlines in the news for hiring Dru’un for positions that required security clearance and initiative, such as security guards, administrative personnel and even sometimes as consultants. Bjørkr wanted to change the public perception of the Dru’un as nothing more than violent brutes with peas for brains. He wanted to show what they were capable of and to find their strengths beyond simple violence.

Controversies

Integrating Dru’un into the company was never easy and there were many incidents where he had to fire employees from the company for their inability to deal with their flaring tempers. BAA WM lost several high-profile contracts because of a Dru’un employee stepping out of bounds and ending up in fistfights with their customers or blurting out profanities and insults at a board meeting.   Bjørkr, however, didn’t want to give up on the Dru’un. Well aware of their limited mental faculties he funded a lot of research into Dru’un capabilities and hired several science teams composed of psychologists and professional educators to try to work out a Dru’un specialized education that would help lift the Dru’un from the absolute bottom rung of the societal ladder.

Death

For such a remarkable and popular individual Bjørkr didn’t get a fitting end. In late 88 PC, Bjørkr was meant to give a speech on the benefits of the Dru’un education method at a large conference, but before he could reach the venue, he was allegedly robbed on a nearby street by a band of goons. He was shot three times in the back and once in the head, leading to speculations it wasn’t a simple robbery, just meant to look like one. It is largely believed that someone assassinated him for trying to upset the “unofficial slavery” of the Dru’un that several large corporations still profited from.

Legacy

Bjørkr Óskursmág will probably never be forgotten, but his message is still ever as controversial after his death as it was in life. While the Dru’un are equal to every other citizen on paper, they still suffer from discrimination in society. Despite the controversies, however, he made a difference. Prior to his work no one even considered hiring Dru’un for anything but dangerous manual labor. Today, they can often be found as security officers, soldiers and even occasionally as office workers. The combination of his message and his groundbreaking educational method have propelled the Dru’un up the ladder. Perhaps not to where he wished them to be, but they are far better off now than they were.
Date of Setting
~50-88PC
Related Ethnicities
Related Species
Related Locations
Related People

Related reading

Dru'un
Species | Jul 7, 2020

The Dru'un are a collection of animal men. Commonly stereotyped as daft, brutish and incredibly violent, they are often employed as bodyguards and bouncers, and not often considered for more white-collar work.



Cover image: Neos City by Jordan Grimmer

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
25 Mar, 2019 15:55

Reformers and civil rights activists - just the right sort of people to be immortalized with their deaths. Especially if it was sudden and violent...   The Hessak only get mentioned twice here that I've counted, and then only along with the (slow, brutish, hot-tempered) Dru'un. I feel like you could either remove them and focus only on Bjørkr's efforts for Dru'un rights, or expand on what he did for them as well. There were probably a lot of things which intersected, but what about their differences? What he did to resolve those conflicts (if any) sounds interesting.   Also, Bjørkr sounds like an exceptionally lucky businessman, if such principled methods always led to him being successful. Would he choose cleanness and fairness even if it meant taking a loss? I'm assuming he would, given everything else in the article, but I'd like to see how he'd deal with it if possible.   My main question is really this, though: how much of the Dru'un's limited mental faculties could be explained by the poor conditions and social marginalization they live with? IQ tests (and IQ as a concept) have many flaws, after all.   These are my thoughts on your article. I liked it a lot, so I hope this helps!

25 Mar, 2019 19:38

It does! He was a business genius, so even when disadvantaged by his honest ways, he still managed to find a niche where he could prosper. That's perhaps not so much explained as implied.   As for the Hessak, they did sort of "slip in" his crusade for the Dru'un as the Hessak faces similar issues, but you're right, I did consider simply not mentioning them at all. You are probably right that it'd be more direct if it was just the Dru'un.   As for the Dru'un's mental faculties, they are absolutely less intelligent than the other races. When the other races had a successful feudal society, the Dru'un lived in primitive tribes based on violence. They have potential, but they just aren't there yet. So their marginalization is partly "their own fault" due to their lacking abilities. They also have incredible tempers thanks to their hormonal makeup, so they are quick to anger.   That way they are disadvantaged, but there are individuals who through proper coaching and tenacity, learn to overcome their disabilities and in some small part be like the others.   I find it's more effective if they are actually "less" than the other species and that's why they are marginalized, than if it was simply just a social issue. The combination of both make it more effective, I think.   Thanks for the comment!

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
25 Mar, 2019 16:03

Okay now this was a truly amazing article. Like some others in this challenge, this one made me a bit sad because of the fate of such a kind person. If you were aiming for that, then congratulations. You nailed it off perfectly First off, the beginning quote is amazing. It immediately gives the reader some insight into the article and the personality of Bjorkr and what others think of him. The following story about his rise to power and his philanthropic activities was definitely great to read as well. I appreciate the use of the sidebar here since it gives a lot of info to some unrelated concepts. The only thing id like is just some linking on the main article to better explain the terms sensotech and kuna. Besides that, its an incredible article! Congrats and keep up the great work!

25 Mar, 2019 19:40

Ah yes, I think those articles may be missing their excerpts. I'm gonna fix that. The idea is that you, as a reader, only need to mouse over the terms to get an idea of what it is.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
27 Mar, 2019 19:44

Fantastic world building in this article really gives you a feel for how this society would feel if you were actually in it. And I really like your focus on a philanthropist, don't see a lot of fantasy and sci-fi authors writing about that. The story and eventual demise of Bjørkr really make me want to read more about what happened in his final moments and what could've led up to it. Great stuff!

27 Mar, 2019 19:46

Love to hear it! Makes me very glad that you feel that there's something unique about the person and the setting. <3

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
1 Apr, 2019 19:45

A very enjoyable read Tobias. I am finding myself digging through your world more, and I blame that because you leave nothing left unanswered or undefined in this article. It's quite impressive how fluidly you tie this in to your world as a whole and how this article itself works to engage the user and give a clear image of what your world is like.   Well done.

1 Apr, 2019 19:49

Thank you so much for the read and feedback! Makes me really happy to hear that! It's something I've worked hard on accomplishing, this "tying it all together", and it makes me so happy to hear that it's working.

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
Powered by World Anvil