The first thing Bastien noticed was the woman.
She was their height, at least, with long fine blonde hair that flowed easily down her back as far down as her waist, and a long, green dress that somehow both hid and accentuated her willowy form.
And when she turned, they could see the other one who she had been standing before, kneeling, wearing a black hijab framing their face, and nothing else.
The oval-shaped silver-green eyes of the tall woman grabbed Bastien's before they could do anything.
"I have a certain... appreciation," the woman said, "for those of in-between spaces. This one, here," she indicated the submissive, "much like you, does not identify as man or woman."
"How did you—"
Her smile alone interrupted them. "Magic." She took a step forward. "And like Paula, you are more than happy to be taken by it." She held her hand to them. "Silavritha of Kyritheren."
"Bastien," they replied, stunned into speech. "Uh... from Montreal."
"And would you, Bastien," she said their name as though she had been speaking Québec French from birth, "like to know what Paula here is experiencing?"
They looked down at the other person there, taking in their bare form, their breasts, the curves of their belly, the unkempt patch of dark hair a bit lower around their pussy... They swallowed, mouth dry. "What is going on?" they asked.
"Paula arrived before you," Silavritha said, "and someone was kind enough before they came to make them soft and pliable. Do you see how they're tied up, wrapped in vines, held so close that they cannot move?"
"I am afraid that I do not see that," Bastien replied.
Paula struggled, but not fiercely. It seemed as if they tried, they would easily be able to stand up.
"See her fight?" The woman chuckled. "Someone has done a good deal of my work for me. Softened her, some. She has been exposed to a power that makes her mind more accessible to my magic. And while the power that affected her is natural, the one which affected you is technological."
Bastien's head swam a bit. "You mean for when I was Altered?"
"That is the word, yes, that beautiful, warm word. 'Altered.' There's a whole lovely field of study in your world about such things, isn't there."
Bastien nodded, and tried to step forward, but their feet wouldn't move.
Silavritha smiled. "And now you feel the effects of my magic on your mind. The plants entangling your feet, rooting them to the ground."
Bastien looked down, and sure enough, could seeing the vines growing, wrapping around their ankles. A look at Paula now showed the vines crisscrossing their bare body, holding them tight.
"Magic, Bastien. Sorcery." The vines entwined their calves, and they felt a pull down, so they sank to their knees, just as Paula had. "Soon you will be just as they are. That amazing 'Alteration' has opened the pathways of your mind up so nicely and done so much of the work that I would otherwise have to do." She almost casually unbuttoned Bastien's shirt and shoved it off their arms as the vines started to creep over their well-sculpted midsection. "Not that I wouldn't do it or that you wouldn't enjoy it, but we can just slip past that." Her hands ran over their chest almost lovingly.
"What... what are you going to do to me?" Bastien asked a bit nervously.
In response, the sorceress stepped aside and turned their head slightly to fix Paula in their line of sight. "That, for starters, Bastien. And then, I think," she continued, as the vines pulled their arms behind their back roughly enough that they had to remind themself that the binding was illusory, "I will remove my dress, and see which of you might do better at pleasing me. Friendly competition, you understand."
"I understand," Bastien replied as a vine forced them into a nod.
"Perfect." Silavritha walked over to Paula and stroked their hair. "See how the vines wrap them so tightly, Bastien? You can see the physical wrapping that holds them in place, but it's the vines you cannot see, the ropes you cannot track with your touch..." She demonstrates, running her fingertips along a line that wrapped around Paula's neck. Bastien watched as they wriggled under that touch and the vines held them in place.
"Those bindings on your thoughts..." She drew her fingers over the top of Paula's hijab, from ear to ear, and Bastien blinked, feeling their mouth start to fall open. Everything went out of focus in their sight but the other two people.
"...and those bindings on your ideas..." She made little circles on the top of Paula's head. Bastien weaved in place, and felt the ropes pull tight to keep them from falling over.
"...and even..." She tapped Paula between their eyes, and they smiled. "...even on your memories."
Bastien knew two things: their name, and that the woman walking towards him and letting her dress fall to reveal her astonishing bare body was the only thing in the world, in any world, that mattered. They saw the other person bound by her magic, and smiled, and received a smile back.
"Let us begin the competition," Silavritha said, standing between the two she had enchanted. "Who would like to go first?" She smirked. "I suppose you won't be able to raise your hand."