Artifacts are unique items of legend with their own history and often political and/or personal significance. Artifacts are rare, as they can be created only by supporters of the game (paid accounts), and only in very limited amounts.
With a paid account, you can create one artifact. In the future, you will also be able to purchase additional artifact slots, but this is not yet implemented.
To create an artifact, simply give it a name and a description. Artifacts do not have any mechanical values.
Once created, you can spawn the artifact into the world. You can give it to any of your characters. In the future, you will also be able to drop it into a region of the game world so that someone else will find it.
Artifacts are property of the character who owns them. They can change owner in one of two ways: Voluntarily and forced. The first way is obvious: If you have an artifact, you can give it to someone else nearby. The second is also straightforward: If a character holding an artifact gets killed, whoever killed them will get the artifact. If they die in other circumstances (suicide, or killed on the battlefield by a mortal soldier) the artifact will be lost.
At the moment, lost artifacts return to their creator and can be given to another character of theirs. In the future, they will drop into the game world and can be found, just like an artifact spawned into a region.