In the age before airships filled the skies, the air above the battlefield belonged to the armored bagoly. Yet, tragically, long hard years of use in combat ruined its once-proud wings, and now it is earthbound. As the airships rose, so did the bagoly fall to the ground, their place over the battlefield occupied by manufacted monsters of steel and skystone. So did the abandoned bagoly return to the wild.
During their military training, one handler was assigned to each bagoly, the resulting pairs developing close bonds over the passing months. Thus do the bagolys fondly recollect the staves of the handlers, and thus did they acquire the habit of stealing and hoarding the staves of the men they attack. Though it's difficult to predict how much a given bent staff will fetch at market, few merchants would pass up the chance to purchase one, in the hope that it might be traded for another treasure at a later date.