Once again he found himself standing in the wide chamber deep within the mountain. Before him was the wide hole that sank far down and the darkness that rested there. And once again Stratus had a gnawing sensation in the pit of his stomach; fear. A feeling he didn't like, but whatever was at the bottom sent a chill through with just the thought of it. Amago had led him here for some reason. There was no human soul in tow so he knew he would not have to drop into the depths once again. Still there was something odd going on the way the man paced back and forth across the chamber. The look on his face puzzled the hollow. Having dragged him there he had expected him to tell him something, but he had only instructed him to wait. He had been waiting nearly fifteen minutes before something happened; Madoka came into the chamber. He wasn't alone, when he entered. Trailing behind the taller man was another hollow.
Stratus took a moment to size up the new creature. His armor rattled slightly. With just a look he already didn't like the other creature. The feeling had to be mutual as the other hollow turned towards him and slowly drew it's bladed arm across his throat. Stratus' armor continued to rattled as he masked his irritation. While this was happening Amago and Madoka were talking.
"So this is him?" The Primera arrancar asked. "He doesn't look like much."
"More than he seems." Madoka responded quickly, moving between the other arrancar and the hollow who looked ready to pounce upon Amago for his commentary. "I assure you he's the one we are looking for. He's the one that battled the captain_"
"A weakened Captain." Amago added. Again there was some shuffling behind Madoka.
"Yes, a weakened captain. He fought the shinigami to a stalemate in such a state. With our help he'll be capable of so much more. " The other man gave a smile.
"Fine." Amago said at length "Let's see if there is more to him as you say." He gave the other arrancar a nod. Madoka turned to the hollow and motioned for him to approach the hole before them. Together they both walked to the edge.
"So this is it?" The hollow asked peering down into it.
"Yes, it's as I told you." Madoka spoke. "Survive this and you'll get the power you crave."
"Enough to beat that shinigami?" it asked it's tails swishing through the air.
"Perhaps more." was the response. The hollow clashed his bladed together and jumped over the edge. Stratus could only watch dumbfounded by the proceedings.
"What's this all about?" he finally asked unable to follow it all. "Survive what." Amago only smiled and held his finger to his lips to silence the hollow. Grunting he retreated to the wall as Amago continued to pace while Madoka stood watch over the giant hole.
The minutes passed and then the whole floor trembled. A pillar of shadow erupted from the pit. The stream of shadows hit the chamber's ceiling and seemed to drain the light from the room. It moved like fire, but only a cold sensation radiated from it all. Stratus hugged the wall as the sickening feeling washed over him. The whole room started to vibrate as the spiritual power rushed through the whole cavern. It was as smothering him. The sound it gave off was like a roar of a beast released from it's bondage. The wailing ended and the rushing shadows dropped and then vanished. A figure stood above the hole. The man pale attire was a stark contrast with the long dark hair that adorned his face. As alarming as it was that the man was naked, there was the fact that he carried a sword in each hand. He moved his head and his long hair moved away from his face long enough to reveal the half white mask. The naked man began to laugh manically. Amago started to applaud vigorously.
"Well done, well done." He said between claps "Welcome to our humble family." The man had stopped clapping and looked down at Amago, he moved so quickly, but Madoka had already intercepted him. With ease he caught the naked man before he came within striking distance of cheering arrancar. The smile on his face faded and a burst of energy filled the room. Everyone visibly buckled under the pressure. Madoka released the naked man and stood up slowly. The other man did not rise, he was literally pressed upon the floor. Stratus was plastered against the rocky wall.
"I am your lord and master, speak your name and assume your place at my side." his voice seemed to boom through the cavern. The whole of the room trembled with each syllable. The man growled, but the pressure increased. Both swords fell from his grip as he struggled to stand. His muscles strained, but he couldn't budge. It was like a giant sheet of glass was pressing him into the floor. Finally he gave up and managed to raise his head just enough to look Amago in the eye.
"Azrael." he snarled "Azrael.......Parnabellos." he finished with a grunt. With that the pressure ceased and man took several deep breaths. Stratus did likewise from across the room.
"Hmmmmmm, you shall be number 4." Amago stated. "Serve me well."