The dream that left a real impression on me, however, happened between "Well, I guess I'm awake now" 07:15 and "Wait, how did it get to be" 08:30, a time more associated with hypnopompic states than REM sleep.
Like the dream of the Dolphin in the Library, I was watching this one unfold from a third-person vantage. The protagonist in this case was a female lion-like creature, not anthropomorphic in the humanoid sense, but definitely possessing language, culture, and some degree of tool use. She was pregnant, and not entirely "with it"; in retrospect, there was a hint that those caring for her had her drugged. They her kept giving her puzzles to solve, and treating her solutions as oracles for the fate of her unborn offspring.
The most distinctive feature was an entity that looked like a cave painting of something a gaunt coyote, visible only to the dream's protagonist -- and not entirely visible, at that. It seemed more a fleeting shadow of an entity that whispered in the protagonist's ear, giving different interpretations to those oracles, or dismissing them entirely. Despite its sinister appearance and bearing, there was a suggestion that it was actually more benign and well-disposed toward the protagonist than the tangible and superficially-benevolent people caring for her.
It called itself "Nine-Moons-Winter"; the dream's protagonist thought of it as "the Winterthin Thing". Either name was an obvious reference to its gaunt appearance: as gaunt as something that had survived a winter that lasted nine moons.
The Winterthin Thing was more visible than the "real", tangible creatures, as if I were observing the action from the Dreamtime -- which I was, I suppose. There was definitely some Ursula Vernon influence here, visuals of cave paintings twining around and interacting with vaguely-seen but definitely "real" creatures, vivid black charcoals over soft gray pencils; the captions were even in the same font ursulav uses for Digger.
(Yes, there were captions. The "format" of the dream was somewhere between a comic and a movie. And yes, I can often read very clearly in dreams, contrary to popular lore that says you can't.)
It was a very vivid dream, one that stayed with me on awakening and fairly well demanded that I record it here.
... did something just introduce itself?