"I lay down to rise no more, content that my people would be well without me, yet I told them with my dying words that if they or our lands had need of me I would return. My people are gone now. The land has changed beyond my recognition. I do not know this place, these fields, these trees; only the rocks of my tomb remain as they were. But the fierce ones still come from the north, there are still Greenskins to be driven forth and I find that I have no mercy left in me for those that have disturbed my rest…"
—Sharu, Barrow King
Wight Kings were once ancient and immensely powerful human warlords that had at one time occupied the lands of present day Sylvania in the days before the founding of the Empire. When imbued with Dark Magic, these ancient warlords rise from their crypts as Wight Kings, eyes glowing with unnatural life. Originally, these remains were once protected by ancient runes and talismans conducted by the earliest forms of wizards or shamans to aid in warding off potential grave robbers and scavengers from desecrating their resting places.
The chieftains of the ancient tribes were buried in their full ceremonial panoply, with bronze breastplates protecting their ribs and winged helms framing their grinning skulls. The tribe's shamans placed the best swords, axes and spears in the death grip of the ancient kings as they were laid on their slabs. The interior walls of the barrows were painted with scenes of the leader's life, so that should they awaken, they would be reminded of their greatest deeds and most heroic victories. Even today, there are still a few scattered tribes of men living within the Vaults that still follow this ancient ritual. However, these once potent protections have since been destroyed, defaced or corrupted by agents of the Vampire Counts.
Without these protections, these ancient warlords are susceptible to the corrupting influence of a particularly powerful Necromancer. A few of these mounds have also been known to be conduits from which Dark Magic flows through, making the restless soul to continuously flicker back and forth from the World of the Living and the World of the Dead. In time, the amount of Dark Magic being gathered is enough to raise a Wight King from the grave without the need for a Necromancer to recite the needed ritual. These events are rare, however, as most Wight Kings are usually raised unwillingly from their rest by determined Vampires and Necromancers.
Wight Kings are incredibly powerful Undead, almost as hard to destroy as Vampires. Suffused with Dark Magic, a Wight King's weapons shimmer with baleful energy. The merest touch of their spear tip or blade can drain the life from their foes, or slice through flesh and bone with an ease that is wholly unnatural. Clad in ancient armor, their flesh all but withered away, there is little for an adversary to cut or stab. Even to stand before one of these skeletal warriors of antiquity takes an extreme effort of will. For these reasons, a Vampire will often charge a Wight King with carrying forth the Undead general's personal banner. Such a duty is often integral to the army's stability, and these indomitable Undead warriors are able to hold aloft the army standard whilst tirelessly striking down one foe after another.