"Uncle Humblestaff?" the young hero responded. "Of course I know the man. Wouldn't have had a chance at the academy without a word from him. He's the big guy over there, surrounded by all those adventurers."
The only remnant of the Shattering, Lydecker Cain found himself the solitary survivor of a universe that was no more than shards of glass.
"Have you ever felt like there’s a world just beyond ours? Some sort of strange dimension, a light dancing just beyond our fingertips? Well, I’ve touched that ‘sacred’ world, and I know its true face."
History is full of interesting and exotic people who can help to populate your world. They can help illuminate the range of what people think is possible for your world (or you can consider them PCs run by players not in your game).
A possible answer to what happens to spells when a mage dies. If the spell is strong enough, say and enchantment or other permenant effect, part of the mages spirit may become lodged in the magic. It may be a way for items to gain some kind of intelligence, but a mage who has knowledge of this fact would be very hesitant about enchanting anyone or thing. He might have other plans for his afterlife than counting the change in your bag of holding.
Preists, I think, would have this sort of thing covered.