Thanks for the clarification on routing and losing the artifact; common sense reinforces what you guys have written here, but the rules as they were written leave it open to other interpretations.
Regarding the second point tho, the artifact not being taken if in base contact with it, I'd just like to respectfully point out a problem I see with what you've said:
Player A charges and attacks Player B (who has the sword). In a stroke of luck, superior skill, epic combat, whatever, Player A manages to take Player B out of action on the turn charged (not unrealistic, particularly with multiple chargers). The artifact falls to the ground next to the unconcious / dead body of the warrior who had it. Player B's turn comes, and while the victorious warrior is bellowing victory, taking a nap, texting his g/f, a new warrior from Player B charges in, grabs the artifact en route, and engages the aforementioned apparently distracted warrior of Player A. Or even worse, a warrior charges him while another warrior swins by, grabs the artifact and retreats with it.
All of a sudden, Player A, who just unseated the artifact from Player B, loses it again before they've even had an opportunity to take possession of it. See the problem I am trying to illustrate?
What are your thoughts?