Pagans were a religion that once worshiped the Trickster. Worship of the old gods had been outlawed by three generations of Northcrests, and suppressed under the rest. The current Elias Northcrest went as far to destroy places of worship of the old gods to promote progress.
Through outlawing, propaganda, institutionalization and preaching the way forward through industrial and technological advancements the people lost focus and stopped worshipping the Trickster. The word passed into old language with little emphasis on the modern. For many, the old god began to pass into legend and superstition.
Although small packets of die-hard believers still practice quietly out of sight (perhaps the Marsh-dwellers are remnants of the faithful), the populous has to larger degree given up on the old gods helping them and turned to the Baron and his promise of brighter and better times.
Pagans loved mossy things and the natural world. In his small way even Orion promoted a return to ways of nature and environment of the Pagans of old, and to flesh and bone, and religion in general. He saw a world of changing chaos to his brother's forced order of stone and wood.