On p.90 of Ars Magica 5th Edition, Moritamus wants to know what her fellow magus Carolus is up to at night. She challenges him to Certamen over it; if Carolus loses, he must tell her what he has been doing. He accepts, but if he wins she cannot ask about his activities again unless she is on official Quaesitor business. They duel, Carolus wins.
I'm sure I don't need to do this, but I reproduce the relevant section of the Code:
"I will not use magic to scry upon my sodales, nor shall I use it to peer into their affairs." Emphasis mine.
Now, using Certamen is not the textbook definition of Scrying; Moritamus is not casting an Intellego spell to observe Carolus. But it certainly looks like magic used to "peer into their affairs."
At first, I thought Carolus could simply refuse the duel. But the Certamen explanation in AM5 says that rejecting a Certamen challenge "is the same as losing." Which means Carolus would need to reveal his activities. So refusing the duel is not really an option.
Now, I realize all this could come up before Tribunal, and all kinds of politics could come up. But this is the example given in the book for the use of Certamen and I can only presume this is supposed to be a good and sound example, so players know the answer to the question "What can you do with Certamen?"
Thoughts? Comments? Is this not "peering into the affairs" of another magus? Is Forfeit Immunity at play here?
I would say that is a duel that could be refused and the Tribunal would back Carolus up on. First off, revealing secrets would be equivalent to revealing secrets. Or perhaps not investigating those secrets. The offer was not symmetrical. Its "I agree to stop pestering you, you agree to give me what I want." Not a fair trade. Secondly mysteries would mean little if they can be discovered by means of Certamen. Someone keeping secrets from you is not a legit dispute. I'm not sure if it would count as scrying, but the Tribunal might certainly use that part of the code if they wanted too.
Here is a question: I seem to recall that Certamen results cannot be appealed if both people agree. However, I cannot for the life of me find where that is. In fact, I find:
on page 89. Am I just hallucinating a memory? Any the quoted part makes it seem like even if the Quaesitor did win the Tribubal might overrule it and possibly hand out penalties.
With Certamen, you cannot be compelled to break the Oath, nor not fulfill parts of your Oath if you should lose. So a loser could not be compelled to deprive himself of magical power to the victor for example, nor could a Bonisagus be forced not to reveal his latest discovery through the normal processes.
They're both on shaky grounds, he doesn't want to go through a Tribunal, which would likely reveal his actions, and she doesn't want to go through the trouble of a Tribunal. That being the case, and since they both agreed to it, this Certamen is perfectly legal I'd say, but also decent anecdotal evidence for either one of them if she should actually bring up an official investigation.
I just don't see why a Certamen that is on such shaky legal grounds is used as, quite literally, the textbook example of Certamen. I don't think it's supposed to be on legal shaky grounds, even though we see it that way.
As was said elsewhere, if you accept that the Order has a dueling tradition, then this is a plausible example. Asking pointed questions is not a violation of the code.
This particular example has a complex decision matrix, there's some bluffing on Moritamus' part. Whether Carolus has done anything wrong or not, he must be concerned that a Quaesitor is nosing about his affairs. The offer of this Quaesitor, Moritamus, to not ask again (as in ever) would be very tempting to any Tytalus. I'm covering just a tiny portion of what's at play here. This is what Ars examples do best, the present something and allow the reader to create the back story that creates and fits the situation presented.