An elfin warrior from a fallen house.
An open room lay before them, occupied only by a few cobwebs and dust. Upon entering, a phrase is seen on one wall. One of them utters the phrase out of wonder for its meaning, unknowingly activating the room. An eye opens on the wall in front of the poor souls and with a quick flash of light, the last thing heard from the room is heart retching screams... then silence.
This item is not listed in many tombs of magic, nor is it detailed in any text books among the arcane. It is however sung about in many a tavern and bar across the coastal cities. The tale is sung more about the man who created it. His tale has been embellished time and again until he seemed more a god than the coward that he was.
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.